With a little practice, riding a bicycle is easy; however, avoiding a bicycle accident may be more difficult. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), motor vehicle driver errors cause over 90% of bicycle accidents in the state. Unfortunately, because a motor vehicle is so much bigger and heavier than a bike, and because a bicyclist is much more physically vulnerable, the chances of being seriously injured or killed when hit are 95%.
The types of injuries experienced can range from soft tissue injuries and bumps and bruises to traumatic brain injuries, broken limbs, organ damage, spinal cord injuries and paralysis.
Any of these injuries can be devastating, making it difficult or impossible to enjoy life’s normal activities.
Top six causes of bicycle accidents
The most common causes of bicycle accidents are listed below, and all of them are caused by someone’s negligence, either the driver or the bicyclist.
Doored:Dooring occurs when the driver of a parked car opens the car door directly in front of an approaching cyclist. The cyclist has nowhere to go except into the door.
The “left-cross”: A bicycle accident can occur when a vehicle driver, coming in the opposite direction of the bicyclist, makes a left turn in front of the bicycle. In this scenario, either the cyclist hits the right side of the vehicle, or the driver strikes the left side of the biker.
Overtaking the cyclist: If a driver overtakes the cyclist believing he has already passed the cyclist and then makes a right turn, the cyclist ends up hitting the right side of the vehicle.
Rear-ended:This is the most common way drunk and/or inattentive drivers hit bicycle riders.
Unaware bicyclist: Accidents can readily happen if the bicyclist is inattentive to the traffic around him.
Disobeying traffic laws: Bicycle accidents can occur when a cyclist fails to follow the rules of the road. Bicyclists have to obey all traffic laws when riding.
Reducing the risk of a bicycle accident
Although it is not always possible to avoid a bicycle accident, there are some things you can do to try and avoid one, or reduce the risk of one.
Always wear a bicycle helmet
Wear bright clothing
At night, wear reflective clothing
Make sure you have front and rear lights
Apply reflectors all over the bike (front, back and sides)
Be vigilant and try to keep a safe distance from vehicles when possible
Obey all traffic rules
For more information on types of bicycle accidents and tips to avoid them, visit http://bicyclesafe.com.
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