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Bicycle Safety (cont.)

Reasons for Bicycle Crashes

  • Most bicycle accidents occur when a cyclist falls or crashes into a stationary object. Crashes are more likely to occur when adverse conditions occur related to:

    • Weather

    • Road conditions

    • Mechanical failure

    • Poor rider judgment

      • Excessive speed

      • Lack of attention

      • Breach of traffic regulations

      • Coordination problems

    • Inexperience

  • Although the rules of the road and right of way are the same for both cyclists and motorists, other factors contribute to the disharmony that can occur between the two groups.

    • Many motor vehicle drivers are often simply not aware of the presence of a cyclist on the road.

    • In low-visibility conditions or at night, bicyclists are difficult to see. The use of reflectors and a bicycle headlight gives you greater visibility to vehicle drivers.

  • Problems with alcohol can contribute to accidents.

    • Inappropriate alcohol use is not limited to motorists (as mentioned previously, in some U.S. states, it is illegal to bicycle under the influence and may result in a BUI).

    • Almost 25% of traffic crashes that resulted in deaths of bicycle riders involved alcohol intoxication by the motorist or the bicyclist.

    • In 17%-30% of all bicycle-related fatalities, it is the bicyclist who was intoxicated, not the motorist.

    • Helmet use decreases among intoxicated drivers, according to a 2001 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

  • Nearly one-third of bicycle crashes occur when a bicyclist is riding against oncoming traffic.

  • Many people assume bicycle riding on sidewalks is safer than on roads. However, the risk of injury increases significantly if you ride on sidewalks.

    • This may be due to the presence of pedestrians and stationary objects (parking meters, for example) lining sidewalks as well as a preference by inexperienced bicyclists to use sidewalks for bicycle travel.

    • Another common scenario involves children, who generally are experienced riders. They tend to crash while riding a bicycle for the first time or while riding a bike they are unfamiliar with.

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