Distracted Drivers Hit Cyclists: Common Circumstances That Result in Bicycle Accidents

Children have always ridden bikes for fun, exercise and independent transportation. Adults are increasingly riding for the same reasons, as well as to protect the environment. Unfortunately, the same things that makes bicycles attractive – the fact that they are lightweight and portable – also makes them no match for a fast-moving, much heavier car or truck.

The most common cause for an accident between a bicycle and a motor vehicle is a distracted driver. A U.S. Department of Transportation study found that these accidents typically fall into six different categories:

  • Intersection or crosswalk yielding errors by motorist (21.7%)
  • Intersection or crosswalk yielding error by bicyclist (16.8%)
  • Unexpected turns by cars into the cyclist (12.1%)
  • Bicyclist failing to yield at a midblock, driveway type location (11.7%)
  • Motorists hitting cyclists by misjudging space needed to pass (8.6%)
  • Bicyclists turning into motorist’s path (7.3%)

Other possible causes of a bicycle accident include defective design or repair of the bicycle itself and interference by a third party (such as an attacking dog).

Of course, all bicyclists should always use helmets. Arizona also has laws that require a cyclist to signal all turns, use lights at night, and yield to oncoming traffic. Parents must teach their young cyclists these rules and enforce them.

Despite a cyclist’s best efforts to avoid a collision, there will always be distracted drivers. The proliferation of smartphones and other electronic devices makes distraction more common. While it is always in your best interests to do whatever you can to avoid the pain, expense and possible permanent injury of an accident, you may be able to collect damages if one does unfortunately occur.

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