Whether bicycling is your primary mode of transportation or your favorite pastime, it is likely that you will encounter other vehicles on the road during your ride. You may take every safety precaution, such as using bike lanes and wearing a helmet, but that does not mean all motorists in California will be as conscientious. How common are bicycle accidents and what should motorists do to prevent one?
Past statistics on bicycle accidents
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that in 2020 alone 938 bicyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents across the United States. Summertime sees the highest number of fatal bicycle accidents. Approximately three out of every four fatal bicycle accidents take place in urban areas.
Motorists can take safety precautions to avoid causing a bicycle accident. First, motorists must remain alert to the presence of bicyclists in their vicinity. Defensive driving is safe driving.
Motorists must yield to bicyclists in the same circumstances they would yield to the right of way of other motorists on the road. Motorists should be aware that bicyclists may be travelling faster than they seem. This way they can avoid making a left or right-hand turn in front of a bicyclist.
Motorists should take care at all intersections to look out for bicyclists. This is especially true at stop signs and when parking. Motorists should come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs and look left-right-left before proceeding through the intersection.
Motorists should not speed, especially if road conditions are poor. Motorists should only pass a bicyclist when it is safe to move into the next lane, just as they would pass a car.
Treat bicyclists with respect
Ultimately, motorists should treat bicyclists with the same caution and respect they would exercise around any other vehicle on the road. Bicycle safety is important both for cyclists and motorists. Bicyclists who are struck by a car in California and suffer injuries as a result will likely want to explore their legal options so they can protect their rights.