Do You Commute on Your Bike in St. Louis? You MUST Read This!
I love to see people riding their bikes in St. Louis. Whether they’re commuting to work, out for an endurance ride on a Saturday, or taking a spin around the neighborhood with their family, I love seeing cycling in and around the city.
What I don’t love to see—but do too often as an attorney who represents cyclists in St. Louis—is riders being hit by cars. To help you, as a cyclist, avoid getting into a serious accident I’ve written this blog on the five most common causes of bike vs. car accidents. Included in this list are ways you can avoid being hit, specific to each type of accident.
The 5 Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Left-hand turns. Nearly half of all bicycle vs. car accidents occur when the driver doesn’t see a cyclist and makes a left turn into the bike. To avoid this type of accident keep an eye out each time you cross an intersection. If you see a driver making a left hand turn into your path, turn right into the lane with the vehicle. This is safer than trying to get ahead of the car or slamming on your brakes.
Right-hand turns. This accident type is also very common. Here, the car is traveling in the same direction the bike is and makes a right turn into a street; either hitting the cyclist or causing her to hit the side of the car. To avoid this type of accident take a lane. In Missouri—along with all other 49 states—it’s legal for cyclists to ride in a lane as a car would. Taking a lane forces the driver to stay behind you and then make their turn.
An opening door. If you’re accustomed to city driving without bike lanes you’ve likely had a close call or two with a car door. To avoid this type of accident keep your sight several cars ahead of you and look for movement in the driver’s seat. And when possible ride at least three feet from car doors, keeping your weight over your rear wheel in preparation of the possibility of a sudden stop.
Parking lot exits. Here, a driver exits either a parking lot or a driveway, striking the cyclist. To avoid this type of accident avoid roads with multiple parking lot exits if possible. That sounds extreme but this type of accident is common and dangerous enough to warrant the extra precaution. If you can’t change routes, be sure to use our lane, riding fully in the road where you are more visible.
Overtaking the bike. This type of accident happens when a driver overtakes a cyclist, hitting him or her from behind. It’s one of the most feared accidents as it often happens without warning. To avoid this type of accident make use of reflectors both in the day and at night. Also, ride steadily, without swerving or moving around the lane. And, as has been mentioned before, don’t be afraid to use a lane; it’s your right!
Want to Keep the Cyclists in Your Life Safe?
Then share the love—and this blog! Use Facebook, Google+, Twitter or use your email to share these safety tips. You never know, your sharing may be the reminder that saves the rider from a serious accident.
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