It’s not just your imagination; there are more and more bikers on the road. In fact, PBOT reports that 238% more people biked to work in 2010 than in 2000. While there can be contention between drivers, bikers, and pedestrians, there’s no reason why all commuters can’t share the road safely and effectively. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of common bike accident causes and how to avoid them.
1. Right Hook
The right hook refers to an accident in which a driver fails to see or yield to a bicyclist when turning right at an intersection. Because most bike lanes can be found on the right side of the road, bicyclists and drivers both need to be cautious at intersections to prevent these types of accidents from occurring. The best way to avoid this type of accident as a bicyclist is by riding farther to the left, while still within the bike lane, when available. This makes you more visible to drivers.
2. Rear Enders
While getting rear-ended in a car can be dangerous, getting rear-ended on a bicycle poses more severe risks, especially when bicyclists aren’t wearing a helmet. The best way to avoid being rear ended on a bike is to make sure that you are as visible as possible. This type of bike safety can mean anything from using headlights to wearing reflective gear. Blinking taillights can be especially helpful in catching the attention of drivers.
3. Door Prize
You’ve probably seen this type of bike accident depicted in movies, but it’s also a problem in everyday life. The door prize collision is the result of the door of a parked car being opened directly into the path of a bicyclist. In the same way you can ride slightly farther to the left to avoid the right hook, this same riding tactic can also help prevent getting doored by a car.
4. Left Cross
The left cross collision occurs when an oncoming vehicle makes a left turn in front of a bicyclist. While intersections with designated turn lights can prevent this from occurring, at many intersections, the only way to avoid this type of collision is for drivers and bicyclists to be alert and aware of their surroundings. Bicyclists should also avoid riding on sidewalks, as this can decrease their visibility to turning cars.
5. Road Hazards
There are various types of road hazards that can be incredibly dangerous for bicyclists, as well as other drivers. Potholes and sewer grates, for example, can cause riders to fall into the road or to alter their course into traffic. Rail and trolley tracks, like the ones used for the Portland Streetcar and Max Light Rail Service can also pose problems for bicyclists if they don’t approach them at a perpendicular angle. Additionally, bicyclists should always try to increase their visibility whenever possible, especially in areas with overgrown bushes or other impediments that could prevent drivers from seeing them on the road.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact bicycle injury lawyer Paul Galm today for your free consultation. He can help you navigate your cycling accident claim. In the meantime, you can learn more about The Most Dangerous Street’s & Intersections in Portland’s High Crash Network to help keep you safe.