Avoiding Bicycle Accidents
Safety Tips for San Diego Bicycle Riders to Avoid Common Accidents
In a city like San Diego, bicycle riders are abundant. Unfortunately, that also means that bike accidents are more frequent than in other cities. What can you, as a biker, do to help maintain safety and avoid getting hit by a car or truck? Of course, bike riders should take normal precautions such as wearing protective gear and reflectors to help other cars and vehicles see you on the road. If bicyclists routinely did this, the number of bike accidents would be greatly reduced.
There are other routine safety tips that bike riders should follow. If you’re riding at night, get a light. If you have a horn or other noisemaker, be sure to sound it to alert drivers of your presence. And you should be in the habit to slow down when nearing intersections in case you do not have enough time to take safe measures.
However, there are some bicycle crashes which can not be prevented simply by using the proper protective gear and safety equipment. Of these frequent bike accidents, there are several typical kinds which replay themselves over and over. Here are a few ways to avoid these common bicycle accidents.
The Right Cross
This bicycle accident happens when a bicyclist comes up to an intersection with a car approaching perpendicular to the bike on the right. Rather than wait for the bicyclist to cross the intersection, the car pulls out into the intersection and pulls out in front of the bike or “t-bones” the bicyclist when the car enters the nearest lane of traffic.
Many times, bicyclists ride as far to the right of their road as they can. However, when it comes to intersections, if you can come out a little further so that you are riding a car’s width away from the curb, it is much safer. That is because more car drivers are likely to look for cross traffic coming from the lane of traffic, compared to looking for bikes or cars near the sidewalk.
If you’re riding on a street where cars frequent parallel park near the curbline, do not ride close to the parked cars. A lot of drivers will keep a car door open while they collect things or will unexpectedly open their door, which could lead to you crashing into the car door.
If you can safely move further to the left away from the parked cars without interfering with traffic, be sure to do so. Otherwise, slow down and drive your bike patiently. It may be inconvenient, but it’s better than getting in an accident.
The Right Hook
Often, when a bicyclist is going straight through an intersection, drivers try to overtake the bike rider and then make a right hand turn in front of them. This can oftentimes lead to the car driver miscalculating how far ahead he is from the bicyclist and making it more likely that the bike rider will collide with the vehicle making a right hand turn.
When approaching an intersection, it is helpful to ride in the street to avoid being put in this position. Riding in the sidewalk is not preferable. First, sidewalks are for pedestrians. But, more importantly, sidewalks make you much more invisible to the traffic than you would be if you were riding alongside a car. Be sure to ride to the left, a comfortable distance between the curb and right hand turn lane. If you take up a little more space, it makes it harder for vehicles to overtake you or cut you off. Glance in your mirror before crossing the intersection.
If you don’t have handlebar or helmet mirrors, they would be a wise investment.
While these are just a few of dozens of the typical bike accident scenarios, working to maintain your safety in these give you skills to deal with other typical accidents. Bike riders tend to be at a disadvantage when they are involved in San Diego car accidents and often times risk death. Err on the side of safety and keep San Diego a safe, bike-able city.