It’s true that Atlanta’s roads have become much safer for cyclists in recent years, but there still are a tremendous amount of accidents that involve cyclists, which generally are avoidable. Most of the time people are simply unaware of their surroundings while out on the road and pose serious risks to everyone around them, but it’s more intricate than that.
The following are five common causes of bike accidents, and by following the tips to avoid these mistakes you’ll be able to essentially minimize your own risks of becoming a part of a bike accident in your local area.
Cars are the most serious of threats
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 3,300 cyclists were killed between 2008 and 2012, and 74% of those deaths were from a cyclist being struck by the front of a vehicle. Drivers are still the leading cause for all non-deadly biking accidents contributing to 29% of biking injuries, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.
As for avoiding cars it really comes down to cyclists knowing the statistics and understanding that cars are by far the most serious threat out on the road, so for all bikers it’s clear that the main danger they must be careful about is other drivers.
Check behind you!
The actual causes of bike accidents are much more intricate than simply dangerous drivers and unaware bikers, and the same IIHS study showed that 45% of biker fatalities occur when a cyclist and vehicle are traveling in the same direction, which subsequently means that the most common way cyclists are killed out on the road is from cars approaching them from behind. Another study from The League of American Bicyclists also supports the other study with 40% of serious collisions being caused by cars rear-ending cyclists.
The best ways to avoid these kinds of accidents are to be aware of what’s happening behind you while cycling, and to of course purchase and use an efficient rear light while biking in the evening hours.
The next most likely scenario in which a cyclist can suffer from a serious or even fatal injury is when a cyclist crosses a car’s path and then is impacted by the collision. While 40% of these collisions are a car rear-ending a cyclist, 11% of these accidents are from when a bike crosses a car’s path perpendicularly. This is a common ‘t-bone’ collision that happens a lot at intersections, and the general cause of these accidents is a driver failing to see a biker approach them.
The best way to avoid these kinds of accidents is to use your hand signals for every turn, and to always bike in a defensive manner under the assumption that the car doesn’t see you or that a driver could potentially make a drastic mistake.
Not being quite noticeable enough
When it comes to the previous causes of bike accidents there is a common theme in that drivers aren’t noticing bikers enough, and so it can be really easy to reduce the amount of risk while cycling just by wearing bright clothing, and using proper reflectors and lights. Rear lights are always an essential part of any cyclist’s equipment because it makes cycling in the evening hours much safer in terms of the cars approaching you from behind. Reflectors are most effective when placed on moving parts of the bike, like the pedals and wheels, and these help drivers see bikers from the side, which can help avoid ‘t-bone’ scenarios.
Using reflectors and lights can make bikers 51% safer out on the road, so by utilizing the proper equipment, you can give yourself a better chance at avoiding the two most common causes of bike accidents!
Getting caught in the dark
It’s a requirement that all bikers must be properly lit up at night, but that doesn’t mean unfortunate scenarios are always avoidable. Sometimes a light will get stolen or the batteries will run out, so it’s always important to keep reliable front and back lights on you while riding at night.
The best way to avoid getting caught in the dark is to prepare ahead of time by charging your lights up frequently so you can be rest assured the lights won’t go out when you need them most.