Many people who choose not to bike say that fear of a car accident keeps them from using their bicycle as a regular form of transportation.
Unfortunately, they are right to fear an auto accident.
A vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds on average and has a metal frame and safety features to protect the occupants, while a bicycle often weighs no more than 50 pounds and has no such safety features. When a collision occurs between a car and a bicycle, the accident can be deadly for the bicyclist.
Because of their design and size, bicycles are more vulnerable on the road.
Bicycles are considered vehicles under Alabama and U.S. traffic laws. This means that bicyclists are required to obey the same rules of the road as other drivers, and they are just as entitled to use the road as other drivers.
However, many drivers don’t see cycling this way. Some drivers don’t look out for bicycles when changing lanes or turning. Others drive aggressively around bicycles, annoyed that the bicycles are travelling more slowly. Still others are a danger to bicyclists and motorists alike when they drive distracted or drunk. Whether they are careless, negligent, or aggressive, many drivers of cars, trucks, and semi trucks pose a danger to bicyclists.
Bicycle-car collisions can happen anytime, anywhere. However, this type of crash occurs most frequently in urban areas, where there is more traffic. Bicycle accidents can happen both at intersections (31 percent of the time) and non-intersections (58 percent of the time), according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2012 traffic safety data.
Bicycle accidents at intersections can happen if the car or bicycle didn’t yield the right of way. Bicyclists may misjudge the speed or distance of a car coming into the intersection, or the motorist may not look out for a bicyclist when going through an intersection. They can also occur when the car is turning right or left in an intersection. This may happen if the motorist doesn’t see the bicycle or misjudges its speed or distance.
At non-intersections, bicycle crashes can occur if the bicycle is riding against traffic or if the car doesn’t see the bicycle when changing lanes. Crashes can also occur if the driver drifts into the bike lane or hits a stopped or slow-moving bicycle from behind.
At Martinson & Beason, P.C., we want bicyclists to stay safe on the road. To reduce your risk of a collision with a car, we urge you to ride with traffic and obey all other traffic laws. We also recommend that you wear bright, reflective clothing—which can help motorists see you—and a helmet, which may save your life in the event of a crash.
If you or a loved one is ever involved in a bicycle accident with a car, don’t hesitate to call our firm to talk to an experienced Huntsville personal injury lawyer. We are happy to answer your questions and guide you through this difficult time.