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Top Bicycle Accident Scenarios and How to Avoid Them

by  on  Personal Injury

Every Denver injury lawyer has had clients who suffered injuries in a bicycle accident.  While wearing your bicycle helmet can help protect you from serious injuries if you are hit, the best protection is to avoid being hit by a car or other vehicle in the first place.  Here are some of the most common types of bicycle accidents and tips on how to avoid them.

Scenario #1: You’re riding down a street when a car pulls out from a side street, parking lot, or driveway on the right.  There are two ways a crash can occur when this happens.  The driver may pull out when you’re in front of the car, hitting you on the side, or the driver may pull out in front of you so that you cannot avoid hitting the side of the vehicle.

You can help prevent this accident by making yourself more visible.  Put a headlight on your bicycle, or wear bright or reflective clothing, or wave at the driver of the vehicle.  Slowing down so you can stop even if the driver pulls out may also help, as will riding further to the left – closer to the center of the traffic lane.

Scenario #2: You’re stopped next to a vehicle at an intersection.  The light turns green, and as you move forward, the vehicle turns right and hits you or turns directly into your path.  These accidents are common when a driver fails to see a bicyclist who has pulled up on the right of the vehicle.  When the vehicle is a bus or a large truck, a bicyclist may be very difficult for the driver to see.  Ways to avoid this accident include stopping behind a vehicle, in the lane of traffic.  This keeps you out of the driver’s blind spot in most cases, and it keeps you out of the “danger zone” created when the vehicle turns.

Scenario #3: You’re crossing the street at an intersection when a vehicle turning left cuts in front of you or hits you.  This accident occurs when the driver turning left fails to see the bicyclist in time to prevent a crash.  Visibility is key in preventing these and many other types of bicycle accidents.  Use a headlight, wear bright or reflective clothing, and don’t pass slow-moving vehicles on the right, since the car you are passing may block the view of the driver turning left.

Scenario #4: You move left in the lane to avoid an obstacle ahead, and you are rear-ended by a vehicle coming up behind you.  This accident is most likely when parked cars or other obstructions are taking up space on the right side of the road, where most bicyclists ride.  To avoid it, never move left without looking behind you first, and ride in a steady, straight line in the traffic lane if there are parked cars along the route.  A mirror mounted to your handlebars can also help you spot cars coming up from behind.

If you are injured in a bicycle accident, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Denver injury lawyer to learn more about your legal rights and options.  The team at Levine Law is ready to put our knowledge and experience to work for you.