Nine Hazards for Bicyclists to Watch Out For
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Patrick DiBenedetto with Metier Law Firm.
Biking can be a great way to stay healthy, save money on gas, and avoid traffic jams; however, there are specific hazards that bicyclists need to watch out for which the average driver may not. Some of these hazards are environmental, while others may be created by inattentive drivers. Regardless, injuries in a bicycle accident have the potential to be severe and even life-threatening, especially when the accident occurs between a bicycle and a motor vehicle.
The following nine hazards put bicyclists at greater risk of injury:
- Intersections. Intersections of any kind can be particularly dangerous for bicyclists; drivers that are turning one direction or another might not notice a bicyclist in their blind spot. Similarly, if a driver or bicyclist runs a red light or stop sign, catastrophic collisions can result in these areas.
- Weaving through traffic. Weaving through traffic might sound like a great way to save time and take advantage of the smaller size and increased maneuverability of a bicycle, but this action has its own risks. Drivers may be unaware of a bicyclist weaving around them, and in an attempt to change lanes or move around traffic themselves could strike and injure the bicyclist.
- Driving/riding under the influence. Drivers and bicyclists alike should never operate their vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These substances reduce both awareness and response time and can result in extremely dangerous situations; however, due to the lack of protection afforded bicyclists compared to vehicle drivers, the biker is unlikely to come out of a drunk driving collision on top.
- Driving/riding distracted. Similar to the above, drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike should be focused on the road and their own actions, as well as the behavior of those around them. Checking a phone, watch, or attempting to eat or engage in anything else that takes the hands and/or eyes off the steering wheel, bike handles, or road, can result in seriously dangerous collisions.
- Parked cars. Parked cars present one of the biggest hazards to cyclists; dooring accidents can be serious, and these typically occur when someone in a parked vehicle opens the door into the pathway of an oncoming bicycle. In this scenario, the driver is typically liable for any resulting damages.
- Potholes. Depending on their size, potholes can present a hazard to both bicyclists and vehicles; however, bicyclists need to practice extra caution when approaching or maneuvering around a pothole to avoid finding their tire caught/damaged and being thrown from the bike.
- Damaged pavement. Potholes are not the only kind of environmental hazard for bicyclists to be aware of. Parallel cracks in the pavement are particularly dangerous as they can catch and shred a tire without warning. Cracks, potholes, and uneven pavement all present danger for a cyclist who is unaware or unable to react to their upcoming surroundings.
- Slick roads. The road and/or certain parts of the road may be more slick at one time than another. For example, bicyclists may have to watch out for oily roads after rain and should avoid riding on or crossing paint stripes whenever possible, as these are also particularly slick and can be easy for a cyclist to slip and fall over.
- Gravelly roads. Unlike most vehicles, gravelly roads do not provide extra traction for cyclists; instead, gravel can get wedged in parts of the bike that it should not, in addition to the extra resistance a cyclist will have to face while pedaling. Similar to the above, it is not uncommon for a cyclist to slip in the gravel, particularly when rounding a corner, and find themselves thrown from their bike, especially if they were traveling at a high speed.
To learn more about hazards for bicyclists to watch out for, or for help investigating a bicycle accident, reach out to a bike accident attorney in your area.