As a cyclist, the hope is that you can share the road safely and in harmony with cars and their drivers. Sadly, this isn't always the case. Each year, thousands of cyclists are involved in serious accidents which cause injury or death. One of the best ways to stay safe while cycling is to be aware of road conditions and potential hazards commonly found on the routes you ride.
Common Hazards to Watch Out for while Cycling
In order to minimize the risk of being injured while cycling, it is important to understand how the layout of a road can contribute to bicycle crashes and to know what hazards to keep an eye out for. Some considerations follow:
- Lack of bicycle lanes: If at all possible, try to bike on roads with bicycle lanes. Bike lanes greatly reduce the chances of an accident by giving cyclists their own space in which to ride while staying out of the path of vehicles.
- Narrow roads: One of the most common causes of a bicycle accident is an impatient driver who tries to pass a cyclist. On a wide road, there might be plenty of room for a car to pass; on a narrow road, however, a cyclist is potentially at risk of being clipped by a driver passing too closely. This is especially true for two-lane roads, where a driver might pass too closely in an attempt to stay in their own lane in order to avoid a collision with an oncoming driver.
- Road imperfections: For an automobile driver, a pothole or grooved road can be an annoyance while on the road. For a cyclist, however, these imperfections can pose a significant hazard to the cyclist's safety. Bike wheels can easily get caught in grooved roads or train tracks that would not affect the wider tires of an automobile. Potholes and manhole covers can throw a cyclist off balance also.
- Parallel parking spots: In congested urban areas which have parallel parking spots, it is important for cyclists to ride far enough away from cars that drivers and passengers can open up and exit the vehicle. If a cyclist is riding too close to a parked car and someone opens the car door in front of them, the cyclist may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.
- Busy intersections and congested roads: Cyclists should be especially wary of busy roads, along with widely-traveled side roads. When drivers enter or exit these roads, they may not be expecting a cyclist and might not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision. Cyclists should also be cautious of drivers making right turns onto these roads and avoid traveling in these drivers' blind spots.
Injured in a Cycling Accident? Let Us Help You
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you know that the effects of an accident go well beyond physical injury--you may have had to miss a significant amount of time from work and face mounting medical bills you can't afford to pay. You deserve competent representation from a team of experienced personal injury attorneys who will assist you in obtaining fair compensation for the damages you suffered.
The attorneys at Schauermann Thayer Jacobs Staples & Edwards PS in Vancouver, Washington are dedicated to putting clients' needs first. To speak with an attorney about your accident and take the next step toward being treated more fairly, fill out an online contact form or call (360) 695-4244 today.