When bicyclists and motorists fail to share the road successfully, the resulting collision can be devastating, especially for the bicyclist. Whether you are an automobile driver or a bicycle rider, there are ways that you can cooperate with the others with whom you share the road in the interest of everyone’s safety. If you are a bicyclist, there are also steps that you can take to protect yourself from accidents.
The National Safety Council offers some accident-prevention suggestions for motorists and bicyclists alike.
What drivers can do
When your vehicle is in operation, you should obviously obey all traffic rules and actively look for bicycles in your vicinity. However, did you know that some of the most serious collisions between bicycles and automobiles occur when the vehicle has stopped? Dooring accidents occur when a driver or passenger opens a car door too abruptly for a passing bicyclist to see it in time to stop. The bicyclist crashes into the open door, which can throw him or her from the bicycle onto the ground.
Dooring accidents are easily avoidable. All you have to do is open the door with your right hand, which is farther from the door than your left. This forces you to look over your shoulder and into your rearview mirror while opening, which you should do slowly.
What bicyclists can do
As a bicyclist, you should remain alert at all times for hazards such as opening car doors. You should take extra care at intersections and use hand signals to communicate your intentions. Make sure you follow the rules of the road.
Equip yourself with a well-fitting, safety-rated helmet and wear bright colors so you will be more visible. Inspect your bike before riding to ensure it is in proper working order.