Motor vehicle accidents involving bicyclists result in thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatalities every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that in 2013 alone, cyclist fatalities made up 3 percent of all traffic deaths in Illinois. However, many bike accidents are preventable, and you can greatly reduce the risk of a fatal crash by following safe riding protocols.
Three Ways to Prevent Bike Accidents
A few tips for avoiding a collision with a car include:
Obey traffic laws
Crashes between bikes and cars commonly occur when bicyclists ride against the flow of traffic or make illegal turns. Cyclists should familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations of the road, especially if they don’t drive cars.
Some key guidelines to follow include:
- Ride along with the flow of traffic, on the right-hand side of the street. Biking in the opposite direction can result in a head-on collision with an unsuspecting vehicle coming out of a turn.
- Obey traffic lights, stop signs, and other road markings. At an intersection, follow pedestrian signals at the designated crosswalk. If there are pedestrians present, dismount your bike to cross the street.
- Alert drivers on the road ahead of time by using proper hand signals for turning, stopping, or changing lanes.
Stay in the proper lane
It is important to remain aware of your location in relation to other vehicles. When there’s no clear bike lane, try to stay on the right side of moving traffic, within a safe distance to parked cars. Unaware bikers tend to take up a large portion of the road, making it difficult for vehicles to pass.
Riding too close to parked cars can also lead to unfortunate dooring accidents. If you do encounter an unexpected obstacle in your path such as a door or pothole, avoid swerving out of your lane into oncoming traffic. Sometimes absorbing the damage at a low speed is safer than risking a collision with another vehicle.
Turn on lights and reflectors at night
Maintaining visibility on the road is essential to accident prevention. You should not be riding after dark without functional front lights and rear reflectors attached to your bicycle. It is more difficult for drivers to notice and react to cyclists at nighttime, especially in rural areas with limited street lighting. Whenever possible, you should also wear reflective and bright colored clothing to stay visible.
Unavoidable Bike Accidents
More and more Chicago residents are biking to work in today’s environmentally conscious world. Along with the emergence of better bike lanes and storage facilities, we have also seen a steady rise in bike accidents.
Even when you practice safe riding techniques, some accidents are unavoidable. If you were hit by a negligent driver and suffered a serious injury, you may be entitled to compensation for the resulting medical costs and other damages.
The experienced Chicago bike accident attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help you prepare a legal claim against the responsible party. After the initial assessment, we will start collecting evidence, completing paperwork, and handling negotiations with insurance adjusters.
The skilled personal injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. are dedicated to helping victims of Chicago bike accidents like you or your loved one. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today at to receive a free case consultation.