Cycling is a versatile activity, in that it’s a means of transport, fun, and exercise. However, it also comes with its fair share of risks. 2018 was the deadliest year for bicyclists (as opposed to motorcyclists) since 1990, with 857 fatalities. In addition to accident risks, the coronavirus pandemic has also made cycling a bit more difficult. These don’t exhaust the risks of cycling. Read on to find out what dangers you may face while cycling and what you can do to stay safe.
Dangers and Safety Tips
A common danger is failing to pay attention to the right of way rules. The basic definition of right of way is basically the right to pass of one vehicle over another when on the road. For example, you may have to turn left, but the cyclist next to you has to turn right (and both your paths could intersect at the same time if one does not yield the right of way to the other).If you let the other cyclist turn first, you’re giving them the right of way.
As a cyclist, there are certain instances where you have the right of way. If you’re on a through road and a car is on an intersecting road, the car should give you the right of way. However, ‘should’ makes for a good legal defense, but a bad physical defense. If you don’t mind being patient, don’t give other drivers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their driver education. Always be prepared to giveothers the right of way to avoid accidents.
Amid the coronavirus, you should find yourself wearing a mask while traveling outside the home. While this is essential to minimize transmission, when you’re exerting yourself, a mask can make breathing a bit more difficult. Additionally, you’ll have to contend with air pollution. To counter this, try to treat cycling as a means of transport rather than as exercise. If you feel yourself getting lightheaded while cycling, slow down and take a moment to catch your breath.
Overtaking is a common source of bicycle accidents. This could be because the cyclist was either overtaking or overtaken in traffic. Generally, there’s no restriction on filtering through lanes or overtaking in slow traffic. However, a large part of this safety relies on the competence of motorists around the cyclist.
If a car makes a turn without indicating, for example, it could cause an accident for a cyclist filtering through their lanes. Try to be a bit more passive with your cycling (though look out for potholes on the edges of the road). Additionally, maintain a 3-foot-or-more distance (safe passing law) from other motor vehicles.
T-junctions and roundabouts are common accident areas. Accidents on T-junctions are most often due to two reasons. First, there can be confusion regarding who has the right of way. Second, motorists emerging onto the through road from the junction can crash into cyclists already on the through road. Roundabout accidents also occur due to miscommunications regarding the right of way.
Moreover, if a motor vehicle overtakes a cyclist and then turns off the roundabout, they could violate the above-mentioned safe passing law. This could reduce the space available to a cyclist and result in an accident. There isn’t much you can do in these cases, since these accidents are largely the result of negligent driving. If possible, try to avoid busy motor areas.
Finally, do whatever you can to improve your visibility to motorists. Many motorists claim a lack of visibility as their defense when an accident occurs. These aren’t terribly strong legal defenses, but to keep yourself safe, you should improve your visibility while cycling especially at night. Wearing high visibility clothing and outfitting your bike with lights will improve visibility at night.
You can take many precautions while cycling. However, a large part of your safety depends on the competence, or negligence, of others on the road. Consequently, if you do find yourself in an accident, you should do the following:
Regardless of whether you think you are or aren’t injured, you should seek medical attention and call the police to the scene of the accident. Be skeptical of the negligent driver’s apologies and placations. In court, they often won’t admit their negligence, even if they admit it to you after the accident.
The police’s accident report is a key piece of evidence if you decide to pursue a civil case against the negligent driver. Make sure you tell the police your version of what happened, as well as get the relevant information from the scene. This includes the negligent driver’s name and license number, as well as information from witnesses, like names and phone numbers. If you’re injured, ask someone to gather the information for you.
Once that’s done, get a comprehensive check-up and fully treat your injuries. After you’ve healed and are back up on your feet, make sure to keep copies of your medical reports. They’re used to determine the compensation amount for the damages sustained.
Personal Injury Cases
If you do intend to recover your damages from the negligent driver, you will file a personal injury claim. This is a claim you file with the defendant’s insurance company. If the defendant is uninsured, you file the claim with your insurance company. A tort is any wrong that infringes on another person’s property, life, or freedom. In a biking accident, you’re likely the victim of a negligent tort, where the motorist did not take the care expected of drivers while driving.
There are four conditions that your accident must meet for you to prove negligence.
First, the driver must have had a duty to act carefully. This is easily provable using the laws and rules that regulate transportation and vehicles.
Second,you need to prove that the driver disregarded their duties. Proving this requires your and witness testimonies.
Third, the breach of duty must have led to some kind of injury or damage. Your medical report is a key document in proving this.
Finally,you need to prove that the driver’s negligence caused these injuries. This requires a comparison between your pre- and post-accident medical records, as well as witness statements.
If you have suffered a personal injury, get in touch with an injury attorney to represent your case. Contact the Law Offices of Lisa Douglas for a personal injury lawyer in Little Rock, AR. Offering representation for other kinds of cases as well, such as social security disability and criminal cases.