Avoiding the Dangers of a Bicycle Accident
Originally published October 11, 2016. Cycling is a great way to get exercise and an eco-friendly way to travel. New Jersey is a perfect environment for cyclists. However, cycling can also be a dangerous pastime. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2010, 618 cyclists were killed and an additional 52,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes throughout the United States. The number of cyclist killed in crashes involving automobiles increased by 16% between 2010 and 2012.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
What makes cycling so dangerous is that bike riders are vulnerable to motorized vehicles because they have so little protection. Some of the most common bicycle accidents that occur include:
- Accidents at stop signs: The most frequent type of intersection collisions occurs when the cyclist has a stop sign but the driver of the automobile does not. This is due to the cyclist stopping at the sign then entering the intersection when the vehicle has the right-of-way.
- Left cross: This type of accident occurs when a motorist does not see a cyclist and attempts to make a left turn.
- Right hook: This is another common collision, which occurs when a motorist passes a cyclist on the left, turning directly into the bicycle’s path.
- Getting doored: A cyclist can be seriously injured when traveling by parked cars if a motorist suddenly opens a car door, striking the biker (called “dooring“).
- Being overtaken: This accident is caused when a motorist overtakes a cyclist from behind.
- Getting swiped: This happens when a motorist hits a cyclist while exiting a parking lot or driveway directly into the path of a cyclist.
No two cycling accidents are the same and not all of them involve motorists. As well as collisions with other vehicles, bike accidents may also be caused by dangerous road or pathways or a manufacturing defect in the bicycle.
How to Best Avoid Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle collisions can best be avoided and explained using an acronym — SIPDA. SIPDA simply refers to what bicyclists should always do to analyze the traffic dangers surrounding them. The New Jersey Department of Transportation offer the following advice to keep you safer on your bike:
- Scan: Make sure to turn your head from side to side, and if you’ve installed one, use your mirror to scan the rear as you determine riding conditions and traffic around you. Be sure to scan far enough ahead to spot vehicles that may not see you and pull out in front of you.
- Identify: As you scan, identify potentially dangerous traffic conditions. Also, identify branches of trees, parked automobiles – obstacles that might affect the path your bike is traveling.
- Predict: Anticipate what could happen, just as any defensive driver would do. Always assume you may not be seen.
- Decide: When planning your route to your destination or your route for the purpose of recreation, select the safest, not the fastest, route.
- Act: Act upon your determination of the safest way to approach a riding situation. The State of New Jersey requires all cyclists to obey the same rules of the road that motorists must obey.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident due to negligence or recklessness on the part of a motorist, it’s important that you discuss the incident with a lawyer straight away. Our New Jersey bicycle accident attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. You may be able to claim damages for personal injury, medical treatment, and loss of income. You do not have to know how to conduct an accident investigation to support your claim. That’s what we are here for. Contact us today at (609) 240-0040.
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