According to the U.S. Census, approximately 870,000 people in the United States commute to work on bicycles. With more Americans choosing to travel on bicycles, whether for exercise, to reduce their carbon footprint, or for relaxation, it is not surprising that there are more accidents between cars and cyclists.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there were almost 900 bicycle fatalities in 2018 in the United States. In many of these accidents, the driver of the vehicle stated that they just didn’t see the bicyclist.
This article explains why this happens so often and what you can do to avoid these accidents. By following these tips, you can make the roads safer for everyone and reduce your risk of being the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.
One of the reasons a driver may not see a cyclist on the road is because they are not paying attention. Distracted driving is a problem when it comes to cyclists and vehicles. It is one of the main reasons bicycle riders are often the victim of driver negligence.
Looking at a text on a cell phone takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. That may not seem like much time but, if you are traveling at 55 miles per hour, that glance is equal to traveling the length of a football field in your car with your eyes closed.
Riding After Dark
When bicyclists ride after dark, it is critical that they have reflective clothing or lights on their bike as they will be very difficult to see. Usually, by the time someone driving a car sees a bicyclist at night, it is too late to stop and avoid hitting them. Headlights may not pick up the cyclist quick enough for the driver to react, so if you plan to bike after dark, be sure to use proper safety equipment.
When we drive, there are a lot of things that our brain must process at once. We must watch other vehicles and keep alert for traffic changes. We have to watch for traffic alerts, like yield signs, traffic lights, and stop signs. We have to be sure we are driving at a safe speed and that we are traveling in a way that is safe for road conditions.
Add to these factors the additional distractions inside the car, such as children or other passengers, and it is easy to see how your brain could miss a cyclist on the road. That’s why it’s important to stay focused on your driving. Do not allow passengers in your vehicle to distract you.
Recent research indicates that it is not uncommon for the drivers of cars to look right at a cyclist and not see them. This something that has been labeled inattentional blindness. It is believed that this phenomenon may be due to a lack of cognitive resources available to take in everything at once.
Smaller objects tend to be pushed out of the cognitive part of the brain so that the person behind the wheel actually does not see the cyclist. The researchers believe that with better driving training, bicycle accidents could be reduced.
If you are a bicyclist who has been injured in an accident, it is important that you talk to an attorney to learn what rights you may have. You may be eligible for compensation for your injuries, including medical bills, lost wages and other economic losses. You may also be eligible for pain and suffering compensation, including loss of consortium, loss of quality of life, pain, anxiety, and pain and suffering.