Cycling is an excellent form of exercise and a way to lower your carbon footprint. However, whether it’s used as a form of transit or enjoyed for sport or pleasure, road cycling carries significant risks, especially in places with more traffic and fewer bike transit options.
With thousands of bike accidents occurring each year, it’s necessary to take precautions like wearing a helmet and making sure the bike is tuned up and the tires are fully inflated, as well as obeying the rules of traffic and using hand signals to indicate turns.
Still, even cyclists in areas with bike lanes and who practice all the right safety measures can end up in a life-altering or deadly accident with a motorist.
These are five of the most common hazards cyclists face on the roads:
- Right-turning cars – some intersections have highly visible road markings indicating to cars planning to make a right turn that bicycles have the right-of-way across the intersection. Drivers who disregard the right-of-way or fail to yield can plow into a cyclist while making their turn.
- Failure to share the road – cyclists are at risk of drivers who disregard their presence altogether, whether by speeding or cutting to close and swiping the cyclist when passing.
- Not paying attention – drivers who are distracted or failing to pay full attention to the road risk hitting cyclists.
- Changing lanes – If a cyclist signals for a left turn on a busy street, they’re relying on the cars surrounding them to heed their request to make the turn. Cars who attempt to overtake the cyclist can cause a collision.
- Cars pulling out – whether they’re pulling into an intersection or junction, backing out of a driveway, or emerging from an alley, drivers may not think to look for an oncoming cyclist, which can potentially create an accident.
Cyclists should always practice defensive riding and never assume every car will see them or give them the right-of-way. Always be aware of your surroundings and proceed with caution.
If you’ve been in an accident with a car whose driver was disregarding or disobeying the rules of the road, you might feel discouraged from cycling again. Getting legal representation is a first step in finding an advocate and, hopefully, regaining the confidence to get back out on the road.