Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC
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Cycle safe by staying alert to common accident triggers

As the weather gets warmer, bicycle enthusiasts are gearing up to ride again. Along with making sure that they have the proper equipment in working order, cyclists should be sure that they are mentally prepared to share the road with motorists.

In efforts to avoid a collision with a vehicle, cyclists should stay vigilant. Here are a few specific accident triggers they should watch for.

Drivers passing and turning

Even with the new vehicle codes that encourage drivers to pass cyclists safely, some motorists may still underestimate the distance needed to complete the pass. Also, some drivers commonly underestimate the distance between their vehicles and cyclists, and may cut them off to make a turn. If cyclists are mindful of this, they can predict such actions and try to compensate for the oversight. In close situations, they may have to use aversion tactics, such as turning or stopping abruptly. 

Opening doors

Inattentive drivers entering and exiting their vehicles on the side of the street can be dangerous to everyone, but especially for unsuspecting cyclists. Therefore, cyclists should keep an eye on the drivers ahead of them along their path. If there is a long stretch of street parking, it may be a good choice for cyclists to ride in the traffic lane or, when allowed, on the sidewalk. Though state law permits riding on the sidewalk, local ordinances may apply, so cyclists should check these before riding.

Driveways

Driveways are another trigger point where accident risks increase for cyclists. Especially in cases where the cyclist is in the driver's blind spot, or the driver is simply not paying attention, it is critical that cyclists be vigilant. Similar to situations involving opening doors, riding in the street may be a safer option when there are quite a few driveways along a street.

By keeping these triggers in mind and adjusting for them, cyclists can enjoy safe rides. In the case that an accident happens, cyclists should consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.

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