Top Four Tips For Avoiding Accidents With Bicyclists
Just like in any accidents, both the driver and the bicyclist may be at fault in a car-bicycle accident. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all road users to do their best to avoid such incidents. As a driver, here are some of the measures to help you avoid getting into crashes with bicyclists:
Understand That the Bicyclist Is Vulnerable
Most bicycles weigh less than 30 pounds while most cars weigh more than 3,000 pounds. Add this to the fact that you are protected by the body of the car, seatbelt, and airbag, while the bicyclists have none of those. This means that, in a car-bicycle crash, the bicyclist almost always ends up more injured than the driver. Therefore, don't forget that even a mere "brush" between you and the bicyclist may end in severe injuries for them. Having this in mind may help you be more careful around bicyclists.
Know That Bicyclists Are Also Entitled To Road Use
Some drivers think that they are more entitled to road use than their bicyclist counterparts. Nothing could be further from the truth; they are just as entitled to road use as you, and they also need to follow the same road rules. Therefore, don't view them as being in your way as long as they are following the normal traffic rules that you also follow.
Be Extra-Keen At Intersections
It's easy to hit a bicyclist at an intersection, especially if they are behind you. Consider an example of a driver about to make a right turn, and the bicyclist behind them doesn't have any idea of the driver's intention. In such a case, the driver can easily hit the bicyclist with the side of the car, especially if the bicyclist was planning to cycle straight ahead. Therefore, always signal your turns, even if there aren't other motorists on the road.
Allow the Recommended Distance
Lastly, you should allow adequate space between your car and bicycle while overtaking the bicycle. Some states have enacted a bicycle safety policy that enforces a three-feet spacing between cars and bicycles.
Because of their relatively smaller sizes, people tend to assume that the bicycles can squeeze through unbelievably small spaces. Unfortunately, you can easily underestimate the appropriate spacing, and you may end up end up sweeping the bicyclist onto the sidewalk, hitting them or making them lose balance.
Since road rules apply to both motorists and bicycles, both of you may be liable (fully or partially) for any injuries you may cause. Therefore, just because a bicyclist has sustained more serious injuries in a crash with your car doesn't mean they are innocent. Consult an accident attorney, such as Welsh & Welsh PC LLO, to evaluate your case and see if you can file a claim for compensation from the bicyclist.