Cycling is a great way to stay active and reduce your environmental impact. However, all road users should be aware that cyclists do sometimes make mistakes that can lead to accidents. Below we’ve listed some common errors that we should look out for in order to keep everyone safe. Having awareness and patience for each other is key to avoiding potential crashes.
1. Not Obeying Traffic Laws
One of the most common and dangerous mistakes made by cyclists is disregarding traffic signs and signals. This includes behaviors like running red lights or stop signs instead of coming to a complete stop. Even if you don’t see any pedestrians or cars, obeying signals and signs is the law and also prevents confusion among other road users who may have the right of way. Always act predictably instead of dangerously to avoid collisions.
2. Not Signaling
Similarly, failing to use hand signals when turning or changing lanes as a cyclist can catch drivers and pedestrians by surprise. Not only is signaling the law, but it also clues pedestrians and drivers in on your next move so they can react accordingly. Get in the habit of clearly signaling with your arm before making any changes in direction or lane position. This simple act can prevent many accidents between bikes and cars.
3. Rising Against Traffic
While it may seem counterintuitive, cyclists should always ride in the same direction as traffic, never against it coming from the other way. Riding against traffic puts you where drivers don’t expect you and aren’t looking in your direction when pulling out. Only ride against traffic when on a designated two-way bike lane. Otherwise, travel in the same direction cars are moving for better visibility and accident avoidance.
4. No Lights at Night
If you’re cycling when visibility is poor at night or in bad weather, having lights on the front and back of your bike is a legal requirement. Reflectors alone usually aren’t enough to stand out to drivers in low light. Having reliable bike lights ensures you’ll be spotted and have enough illumination to see road hazards yourself. Don’t let a dead battery or forgotten lights lead to tragedy.
5. Distracted Riding
Today’s wired world makes distractions ubiquitous, but cyclists need to stay alert like all road users. Activities like texting, talking on the phone, or even using earbuds can divert focus from navigating road dangers. Never take your eyes off the road or hands off the handlebars for more than a split second. Stay present during your ride and avoid accidents caused by lack of attention.
Cycling accidents typically cause less damage than car crashes, but they’re still best avoided through safe riding habits from all road users. We can prevent mishaps and frustrations by allowing sufficient space for cyclists, driving attentively around them, and encouraging their adherence to traffic laws. With some consideration on both sides, our roads can be safer for bikes and cars alike.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving a cyclist, contact us at Binder Law Group for advice. We will be able to help you get any compensation you deserve.
You can find us at 16633 Ventura Blvd. #602 Encino, CA 91436.
Or you can call now for a free consultation on (818) 659-8588.