Bike accidents result in the highest amount of injuries, even compared to other sports, including football. Car-on-bike accidents usually result in serious to fatal injuries are car-on-bike accidents. And unfortunately, these types of accidents happen all too frequently. Here are some tips from bike accident lawyer Michael Stephenson to help you avoid car-on-bike accidents.
Obey the Traffic Laws
As a cyclist, you are required to obey all traffic laws. Everyone on the road are required to follow these common set of rules, which lets drivers and cyclists know what to expect from each other. Riding in a predictable manner reduces the chances of a collision.
Additionally, in an accident, you protect your legal rights if you obey the traffic laws. If you fail to obey the traffic laws and receive a traffic ticket, this could be used against you.
Since California is a comparative negligent state, your compensation is reduced by the amount of your negligent conduct that contributed to the accident. As any experienced bike accident lawyer knows, a cyclist’s failure to obey the traffic laws could substantially reduce compensation.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings (Situational Awareness)
You have a legal duty to exercise due care and keep a proper lookout, or maintain situational awareness. You must be aware of what is happening around you on the road, as well as aware of how that may affect you. Although you do not have the legal duty to anticipate someone else’s illegal behavior, by being observant of your surroundings, you can assess potential dangers or hazards.
Between cars and bicycles, there is a 7:1 size differential ratio. So even if the driver is being “situationally aware,” he or she may not see you on the road. By being conspicuous — having a headlight or wearing reflective gear — you increase the chances of being seen by the unobservant or inattentive driver. Having lights on your bicycle (not just reflective gear) is especially helpful in heavy fog, at night, in the rain or snow — since lights are more visible.
Most Bicycles Accidents Occur at Night
It is harder to see at night. Although you are permitted to ride at night as long as you take proper safety precautions, you can reduce the risk of collisions by riding in the daytime. If you do ride at night, be more conspicuous.
Most Fatal Accidents Involve Alcohol
You cannot control a driver’s irresponsibility or alcohol intake. However, you have control over the times you ride. Avoid the roads at times when drunk drivers are more than likely to be on the road.
Moreover, you yourself should not ride your bicycle after consuming alcohol. As a cyclist, you are subject to all traffic laws.
Most Bicycle-Related Accident Occur in Intersections
You more than likely cannot avoid intersections. Follow the tips above to reduce your risk of a collision in an intersection. Consider stopping before crossing.
Know Your Hand Signals
Letting the other drivers on the road know which direction or how you plan to move is also beneficial. California’s DMV provides the hand signals to use if you want to make a left turn, right turn, slow down, or stop.
Practice Emergency Maneuvers
When all else fails, avoiding collision may depend on your ability to execute an emergency maneuver successfully. Know and practice your maneuvers. In the split second before an accident, you won’t have time to think, much less plan the maneuver. Practice until it becomes second-nature.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Bike Accident Lawyer
To learn more, contact bike accident lawyer Michael Stephenson at Los Angeles Bicycle Law. If you have sustained a bike accident injury, we can help.