Bicycle accidents can result from one primary factor or a combination of factors that are often motorist-related. Whether people ride a bike for their daily commute, exercise, or fun, they face risks every time they hit the road. In 2019, 864 cyclists were killed in traffic crashes. Hospital admissions due to bicycle accidents have increased by 120% over the last 15 years.
The most common causes of bicycle accidents are:
Distracted drivers pose the greatest danger to bicyclists. When drivers are talking on the phone, texting, taking selfies, or conducting video chats, they are significantly more likely to cause dangerous collisions. Drivers are 23 times more likely to crash when texting and 3 times more likely to be involved in an accident when making a phone call.
Failure to Yield
Bicycles should be treated like other vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, motorists often overlook bicyclists when checking for oncoming traffic. Drivers failing to yield at intersections, in street lanes, or stop signs poses severe risks for bicycle riders. Additionally, drivers often hit cyclists when they don’t pay attention to their blind spots while turning or changing lanes.
Dangerous Road Conditions
Poor road conditions account for 13% of all bicycle accident injuries. Since bicycles have thin tires and are fairly unstable, encounters with sewer grates, potholes, or train tracks can cause riders to swerve or fall into traffic.
Opening a Door Without Looking First
A bicyclist gets “doored” when a person inside a car opens a door directly into the path of the rider as they’re passing or approaching. The door can strike a bicyclist on the side, forcing them to ride directly into the car door or making them swerve into traffic.
The use of headphones or hands-free devices can cause bicyclist distraction. Distracted riders may not be aware of their surroundings and may swerve into traffic or collide with oncoming traffic.
Inability to See Riders at Night
More than half of all bicycle accidents occur after dark as it becomes harder for drivers to see bicyclists without reflectors. By the time a driver sees a bicyclist, it’s often too late to stop the vehicle and avoid a collision.
Failure to Leave an Adequate Buffer
Motorists who follow bike riders too closely create extremely dangerous conditions. Without an adequate buffer, drivers are more likely to hit bicyclists left with fewer options to avoid a crash.