The year-round, nearly perfect weather in Southern California provides a great environment for bicycle enthusiasts, many of whom ride every day. Some ride just for pleasure and to stay fit and healthy while others make round trips between home and work, or to classes on campus.
Many bicycle trips involve riding in traffic on busy streets, which increases the risk of a car-bicycle collision. Here are four of the most common accidents that you as an avid cyclist must try to avoid:
- The sudden left turn: You must be especially alert at intersections. An oncoming car may make a left-hand turn right in front of you. Perhaps the driver is not paying attention, does not see you or decides to turn at the last minute and is focusing solely on that effort. If you cannot stop, try making a right turn at the intersection. This may get you traveling in the same direction as the car, possibly avoiding a terrible accident.
- The inevitable right turn: Every biker has experienced this at one time in their lives. A car passes you on the left, and then the driver misjudges your speed and makes a right-hand turn in front of you. To help avoid these types of collisions, ride in the traffic lane — it is your right to do so. Anyone interested in taking a right will have to stay behind you and wait his or her turn.
- The opening-door horror: If you are riding between a traffic lane and a line of parked cars on your right, you risk running smack into a car door that is suddenly opened. Avoid riding this close to parked cars. Again, ride in the traffic lane, even if only to get past the parked cars. It is much safer.
- The scary rear-ender: A driver that does not or cannot stop in time, striking you from behind, can be a nightmare for a bicycle rider, a devastating accident with almost certain injuries. Maintaining an awareness of vehicles behind you is necessary but not always possible.
Remember that you have rights as a cyclist and deserve fair compensation if you are the victim of a vehicle-bicycle accident. Stay alert at all times, and take evasive action when you can to help you avoid accidents. You deserve to enjoy smooth, uneventful rides.