As a Seattle personal injury attorney, I have handled many cases involving bicycle accidents. Sometimes it can be very difficult to see bicyclists, but the danger is compounded by the fact that so many people aren’t wary of the potential presence of someone riding a bicycle. Due to the lack of protection bicyclists have against automobiles, the resulting injuries have the potential to be very high. Even small collisions can lead to serious injuries, so it is very important for bicyclists and car drivers alike to follow the rules of the road and be on the lookout for others that may potentially put them in danger.
Two days ago, a 12-year-old boy was ran over by a pickup truck while riding his bicycle in Centralia, WA. The collision did not happen at high speeds, but was so severe that the child had to be airlifted to Harborview Medical Center. The pickup truck was exiting I-5 going southbound when the driver ran over the boy’s foot. Authorities are still investigating the accident, but do not believe that alcohol played a role in the collision.
While there are not many details on how the accident occurred, or where exactly fault will lie, there are a few important bicycle accident prevention tips everyone should be aware of.
1) Stay off the sidewalk: While many drivers get upset if a bicyclist is on the road in front of them, that is the safest place to be if there is no dedicated bicycle lane. Cars expect pedestrians on the sidewalk, so if they are turning at an intersection, they might not be prepared for the speed at which a bicycle can make up ground.
2) Ride with traffic: It feels comfortable sometimes to ride against traffic because you can see the cars coming your way, but you are significantly reducing reaction time by doing this. Instead, you should always ride with traffic, which allows cars to see you in front of them, and adjust accordingly.
3) Get a headlight and flashing backlight: If you are going to ride a bike at night, this is essential. Regardless of how well you can see at night, there are drivers on the road that may not see you unless you make yourself obvious to them with lights.
4) Avoid blind spots: You can go a long way in protecting yourself on a bicycle just by riding defensively. By avoiding blind spots at stop lights and intersections, you can do yourself – and the drivers on the road a big favor.
5) Where a helmet: This one is pretty obvious at this point, but always deserves mentioning. Simply put, helmets save lives.
For more information, check out this article on bicycle accident prevention.