An often-repeated tenant of every citizen’s driver’s education course is to “slow down around bicyclists.” Of course, this makes a great deal of sense. Bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians are always in a more vulnerable state when compared to automobile drivers. However, while these teachings are certainly a good start, they aren’t enough.
Unfortunately, about 50,000 bicyclists are injured every year from bicycle/motor crashes, with the number of fatalities steadily increasing.
In 2015 alone, 818 bicyclists died from injuries sustained in a crash. As more and more drivers have begun to ignore the safety regulations in place to protect two-wheelers, it is clear something needs to be done to keep our streets secure for everyone.
Vulnerability Behind the Pedals
No matter the situation, bicyclists are always in more danger than drivers. Cyclists lack the two tons of metal protection, as well as all the extraneous safety mechanisms, that often successfully shield drivers from the perils of the road. Making matters worse, there is no federal law in the United States – or state law in Ohio – mandating that cyclists wear helmets. Put simply, bicyclists are inherently at a disadvantage when they’re on the streets.
Meanwhile, a distracted driver is almost always in a position to inflict fatal damage to cyclists. Not only do bicycles not offer any protection to riders, but they also travel at much slower speeds than automobiles. This means that when a car comes crashing onto a bike, the bicyclists feel the brunt of the crash.
How to Avoid Hitting a Bicyclist
Understanding the dangers associated with biking is the first step to avoid getting entangled in preventable collisions. Fortunately, a few more tangible habits can also greatly reduce the risk of accidents:
- Keep your eyes on the road. Distracted driving takes your attention away from the road and prevents you from safely bypassing the cyclists. Ensuring that you stay attentive and focused does wonders for protecting against accidents.
- Respect the bike lanes. Bicycle lanes are created to give bikers a necessary safe zone. Just like cars swerving into your lane endanger you, swerving into bike lanes endangers bicyclists.
- Be aware at intersections. About 45 percent of bicycle/motor crashes occur at intersections. Learning and respecting the right-of-way laws for bicyclists can reduce the likelihood of getting into a collision.
- Go around bicyclists. If a cyclist is biking next to you, slow down and go around it. One of the most fundamental rules of the road, bypassing bicyclists is an absolutely necessary precaution.
Acknowledging the perils of bicyclists and taking the aforementioned measures to avoid hitting them makes driving a less stressful experience for both you and fellow cyclists!
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately. As your Ohio car accident lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 1 (800) 556-4769.