Six ways negligent drivers may cause Orange County bicycle accidents
Bicycles are a fixture on Orange County roads. However, many drivers pay them little attention or consider them an annoyance. This is unfortunate as a bicyclist is extremely vulnerable to serious injury when hit by a car.
This list includes the six types of driver behavior that cause the most bicycle accidents.
1. Dangerous turning: When a bicycle is approaching or waiting at an intersection, drivers will often try to impatiently turn in front of the cyclist. A left hand turn can cut off the bicyclists path; a right hand turn can knock the bicyclist over or cause him to collide with the turning vehicle. In either case, the bicyclist may be seriously injured. Car drivers should remember that bicyclists have the same right of way as other drivers on the road.
2. Dangerous Passing: When a passing driver does not give a bicyclist enough space, he may force the bicyclist off the road or sideswipe him with the side of the car or sideview mirror.
3. Disregard of bike paths: Drivers should take note of the presence of a bike paths and bike lanes and be alert for bicyclists on the path. This is especially important at driveways or intersections where the bicyclist has the same right of way as other drivers in that direction of traffic. Drivers should not use the bike lane as a shortcut.
4. Opening car doors: Sometimes a driver will open the door of a parked car into the path of an on-coming bicyclist. The bicyclist may be knocked off their bicycle or propelled over the car door. Drivers should look for bicyclists before exiting their vehicle.
5. Overestimating the bicycle’s brakes: Bicycle brakes are not nearly as effective as car brakes. Sudden braking can cause the bicyclist to be thrown forward over the bike. Do not assume a bicyclist can stop suddenly.
6. Underestimating bicycle speed: Bicycles travel at a different speed than cars. Drivers may underestimate how long it will take a bicycle to catch up with them or pass them and will turn or open a car door causing an accident.
Bicyclists should do their part to prevent accidents by following the rules of the road and wearing proper safety gear.
If you have been in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, you have rights. Contact the Southern California bicycle accident attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie to learn more.