The metro D.C. region and the surrounding areas are a hot spot for bicyclists. Instead of getting behind the wheel or hopping on a bus, a growing number of people are opting to pedal their way across town or back and forth to work.
Bicycling is a great way to stay fit, save money on fuel, and enjoy scenery on your commute, but it can also be a dangerous activity. Bicyclists must share the road with cars and trucks, which means cyclists are often in danger of being involved in a serious accident.
Common Bicycle Crashes Explained
As bicycle accident lawyers in Northern Virginia, we see a variety of bicycle accident injuries. Generally, there are five common types of bicycle accidents that tend to occur regularly.
- Left Cross. In a left cross crash, the motorist turns left into the bicyclist. These types of bicycle accidents make up about 50 percent of all bicycle crashes, according to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.
- Right Hook. Right hook bicycling accidents happen when a car passes a cyclist on the left side, but then makes a right turn directly into the cyclist’s path. As a bicyclist, you can avoid left cross accidents by staying away from the right side of a car or truck, as this is a blind spot for many vehicles.
- Unfortunately, getting doored is something many urban cyclists have experienced. Like the name suggests, a dooring accident happens when a cyclist is passing a parked car—usually a line of parked cars—and the motorist swings open the door, causing the cyclist to crash into it.
- Parking Lot. Most vehicles move slowly in parking lots, but even low-speed collisions can leave a bicyclist with catastrophic injuries. Many motorists simply don’t look for cyclists in parking lots, as they expect to see cars and pedestrians. When the brain isn’t expecting to see a certain object, such as a bicycle, it can sometimes overlook it or fail to register it in the line of sight.
- A surprisingly large number of drivers are unaware that cyclists have as much right to use the road as any motorist. Many drivers get angry when they are forced to drive near a cyclist. In a rush to get around a bicycle, they may attempt to “overtake” the cyclist by coming up too close behind the cyclist, passing too quickly, and cutting back in front of them. This can result in serious accidents that leave a cyclist with devastating injuries.
Stay Safe on Your Bicycle
Bicyclists are among the most vulnerable people on the road. If you ride a bicycle, you can protect yourself by doing the following:
- Research shows that bicycle helmets prevent fatal head injuries. In a Canadian study, cyclists who died due to a head injury were three times less likely to have been wearing a helmet at the time of the crash than cyclists who died because of other types of injuries.
- Make eye contact. Whenever possible, make eye contact with motorists. This helps ensure that they see you and know where you are.
- Dress in bright or reflective clothing. Your clothes could save your life. Whenever possible, wear reflective clothing or bright colors that help you stand out on the road.
Hurt in a Bicycle Crash? Get Help Today
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, don’t neglect your important legal rights. Help is available, but only if you call an experienced Washington, D.C. and Virginia bicycle accident lawyer. Get your free case evaluation by calling a lawyer today.