As daily commuters ourselves, we know the road can be a bit intimidating, especially for a new rider. In fact, we’ve come to notice that many of the bicycle accidents that occur, actually happen for the same reasons! So we put together some of the most frequent bike accidents and a few “rules for the road” to make sure that you know how to stay safe when you ride.
It’s important to know the most common types of bicycle accidents so you can avoid them. We’ve listed them below.
The driver makes a right turn across the cyclist’s lane of travel
The driver makes a left at an unprotected left-turn
The driver fails to stop at a red light or stop sign
A vehicle or a bicycle passes on the right
The car “doors” the bicycle, essentially meaning a driver opens the door in a cyclist’s path
The cyclist runs into road issues
Now that you’ve identified the most common types of bike accidents, follow our tips to stay safe.
Get the gear
This is a given, but you’d be surprised at how often it is overlooked. To make sure that you’ve covered your bases, think first about yourself, then your eBike.
Helmet? Check. You can also choose to wear gloves. They can be especially helpful in cold weather to make sure that you can continue to grip the handles. And for your bike, make sure you have a horn or bell, headlights, reflectors, and working brakes!
Follow the rules
When you bike on the road, ride in the same direction as traffic (cyclists under 12 are the only ones allowed to ride on sidewalks!).
Stay on the right side of the lane, in a single-file line with other cyclists. If the street is too narrow for cars to pass, cyclists are allowed to ride in the middle of the lane to increase visibility.
Stop at red lights and stop signs, and obey all other traffic signs just as you would in a car.
Used marked bike paths whenever they are available.
Check out local municipal and state traffic laws. Rules may differ from state to state, and even amongst major cities! So make sure you are well versed before you hit the road.
Put down your phone
We shouldn’t have to say this, but we’ve seen it too many times to not mention. Don’t. Touch. Your. Phone. This includes talking, texting, and checking Instagram. We also suggest that you refrain from listening to headphones because they can make it more difficult to hear approaching cars and pedestrians.
Keep an eye on cars
This applies to both moving and parked cars. Have you heard of the concept of getting “doored?” That’s when you ride near a parked car and they open the door right in front of you. Ouch.
Keeping an eye on moving cars is more obvious. But to stay safe, stay out of the drivers’ blind spots, especially at traffic lights and stop signs.
Learn the proper signals to tell other drivers and riders what you’re doing and where you’re headed.
To turn left, extend the left arm straight out from your side, parallel to the ground.
To turn right, extend the left arm out straight from the shoulder with the elbow bent and the left hand pointing straight up. The arm should form an “L” shape.
To slow down, extend the left arm out straight from the shoulder with the elbow bent and the left hand pointing straight down. It’s the opposite of the right-hand turn.