Types of Bicycle Accidents

Bicyclists present small and inconspicuous profiles in traffic. They’re on two wheels as opposed to four, so bikes are highly unstable if they’re in a collision with a motor vehicle. Bicyclists don’t have a steel body with crumple zones around them to protect them, and they don’t have the safety benefits of restraint or air bag systems either. Other than maybe a helmet, bicyclists are frighteningly vulnerable and exposed to injury or death in an accident.

If you or a loved one was involved in a bicycle accident in San Francisco or any part of Northern California, contact us today for a free consultation. Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only firm in Northern California to specialize exclusively in representing cyclists.  Our attorneys have extensive experience working on bicycle cases and we offer our clients the superior service needed to represent their bicycle accident cases.

Types of Bicycle Accidents

What are the most common types of bicycle accidents?

About 50 percent of all bicycle crashes happen when the rider simply loses control of the bike and ends up on the pavement. Only about 20 percent of other crashes involved bicycles and motor vehicles. The Federal Highway Administration studied about 3,000 of those crashes. Here’s a summary of its findings on types of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles that can be helpful to bicyclists in California or anywhere else.

Riding against traffic
Nearly 25 percent of all bicycle accidents in traffic occur when a bicyclist is riding against oncoming traffic. Riding the wrong way in traffic accounts for a significant percentage of severe injuries and fatalities. Bicyclists should never ride against oncoming traffic.

Exiting from a private drive
These crashes occur when a bicyclist comes from a private drive, alley, side street or sidewalk and enters a roadway. They account for 5.1 percent of all crashes, and they most often occur in residential areas.

Stop signs and stop lights
These accidents present a motorist who is stopped at a traffic control device. He or she then pulls out into the intersection and strikes the bicyclist. Such crashes represent 9.7 percent of all crashes between bicyclists and motorists.

Vehicle driver overtaking the motorist
In this scenario, the bicyclist is legally occupying the roadway and gets hit from behind by an overtaking vehicle. Injuries are usually severe, and fatalities aren’t unusual. Most of these crashes occur at night when the driver of the motor vehicle either didn’t see the bicycle or didn’t see it until it was too late to avoid a collision. Drug and alcohol impairment contribute to many of these accidents. They total 1.3 percent of all crashes, but 54 percent of these crashes result in serious or fatal injuries.

Driver turning left
Although vehicles turning left account for more than 40 percent of all motorcycle accidents, they only account for 1.2 percent of all bicycle accidents. The slower speed of a bicycle is the distinguishing factor. Again, since bicycles present such smaller and inconspicuous profiles on the road, motorists who caused these left turn accidents report that they either never saw the bicyclist, or they didn’t see him or her until it was too late.

Driver turning right
The recipe for this accident is a bicyclist riding on the right side of a lane of traffic while immediately approaching an intersection. He or she might be in a driver’s blind spot when the driver makes a right turn. Sometimes the motorist even passes the bicyclist and makes a right turn directly in front of the bike. Right turns by motorists consist of 4.7 percent of all motor vehicle against bicycle accidents.

Getting “doored”
On a national level, these accidents only account for less than two percent of all accidents involving cars and bicycles, but in heavily urbanized areas, they might comprise as much as 25 percent of all such accidents. The crash scenario is simple. A driver parks legally on the street and opens his or her door to exit the vehicle. The bicycle rider slams into the open door.

These statistics apply to adult bicyclists. For children, they’re significantly higher. There are sensible precautions that bicyclists can take to protect themselves from careless and negligent drivers, but they’re still not fully protected. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation on any bicycle crash anywhere in California. We’re here to help you get the necessary compensation to put your life back together.

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