You may be an avid weekend bicycle rider, or you may ride your bike to work or to campus. Quiet country roads make for pleasant outings, but you may spend more of your time navigating busy highways.
Anytime you are riding in traffic, you need to be alert to the possibility of car-bicycle collisions. Close encounters can happen in the blink of an eye, and as a road rider, you do not want to become a statistic. Here are three possible entanglements and how to avoid them:
1. The left-turn problem
The most common car-bicycle accident occurs when an oncoming vehicle turns left, crossing your path. For one thing, the driver’s brain is not programmed to look for something as small as a bike. For another, you may temporarily be hidden from view by a tree, a large sign or some other object. Always be alert to this possibility. You can avoid disaster by making a right turn; now you are going in the same direction as the car. Pull over and when it is safe, return to your previous direction of travel.
2. The ill-timed right turn
Another issue occurs when a car passes you on the left, misjudges your speed and makes a right turn just as you approach. To avoid this, you can ride in the traffic lane—it is your right to do so. This forces the driver to remain behind you until you clear the area where he or she wants to turn.
3. The opening door disaster
A motorist opens a car door right in front of you and you may have no alternative but to hit it, which could result in devastating injuries. In addition, opening the door into a cyclist’s path is a ticket offense for the motorist. To avoid this circumstance, do not ride next to parked cars, or if you must, anticipate the open door scenario and watch as far up the line as you can.
Remember, you have rights as a cyclist and can rely on an advocate to defend those rights. An attorney who is also a cyclist understands the risks to which you are exposed and can assist if you are the victim of a close encounter with a motor vehicle.