Collisions between bicyclists and motor vehicles are unfortunately much too common; as a bicyclist you need to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to avoid a collision at all times. Here are the most common road riding collisions and how to avoid them.
ACCIDENTS PATTERNS TO AVOID
The Right Hook
This is one of the most common collisions. In Phoenix, nearly 40% of bicycle-motor vehicle collisions involve a driver making a right turn. The right hook involves a motorist making a right turn in front of a bicyclist's direction of travel.
How to avoid it: Don't pass slow cars to the right because this puts you in the driver's blind spot. Ride in the traffic lane - taking the traffic lane forces the motorist to stay behind you and wait to make the right turn.
The Left Cross
This is one of the most serious collisions in Phoenix, accounting for nearly 15% of all incidents. The left cross is when the motorist and bicyclist approach the intersection from opposite directions, and as they enter the intersection, the motorist turns left, colliding with the cyclist. The motorist often does not see the cyclist or misjudges the cyclist's speed.
How to avoid it: If a car is turning into you from your left and you are not able to come to a complete stop, make a right turn and pull over to the right. When it is safe, return to your original direction of travel.
Approximately 25% of all bicycle-vehicle collisions occur at driveways. When a motorist is exiting a driveway they are typically looking for other vehicles – not bicyclists.
How to avoid it: The best way to avoid a driveway collision is to be on constant lookout for cars exiting driveways and to ride on the correct side of the road – with the flow of traffic. Avoid riding on the sidewalk – motorists are not expecting to come across a fast moving rider on the sidewalk.
Getting Rear Ended
Although this collision is not common, it is very scary from the bicyclist's perspective. This is a cyclist's worst fear of a collision because you don't usually see it coming and you won't have a chance to avoid being hit.
How to avoid it: The best way to avoid this collisions is to stay bright and in sight. Always use a front white light and a rear red reflector when riding at night or in low visibility conditions. Wear light colored clothing to stand out against a dark background as you ride.
We've all seen it in the movies: without checking for oncoming traffic, a motorist throws a door open right into the path of a cyclist.
How to avoid it: Avoid riding close to parked cars and look ahead to predict when a motorist will open their door.
Wrong Way Riding
In one third of collisions, bicyclists are riding the wrong way – against traffic. Motorists pulling out of driveways or turning from an intersection are not looking for traffic coming the wrong way. They could pull out in front of you and have no idea you were coming.
How to avoid it: Ride with the flow of traffic. If you choose to ride against the flow of traffic, take extra precautions when approaching intersections and driveways.
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