Monday, May 14, 2012

Bike-Car Accident Prevention

According to the League of American Cyclists wearing a helmet is not our first line of defense for safe cycling, education is! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 718 bicyclists were killed and 51,000 were injured in crashes with motor vehicle in 2009, but car-bike collisions account for only 17% of all bike crashes.

So let’s look at the other crash statistics to help you learn how to control your bike and not be an accident statistic:  50% involve falls, 17% are bike-bike, 8% bike-dog, and 8% other.  In this article we will look at the car-bike data with future articles educating us about safety and skill building to prevent the other types of crashes like dealing with dogs and avoiding falls.

The car-bike crashes where cyclists are to blame include riding on the wrong side of the road so remember to always cycle in the same direction that cars drive – the right side. Cyclist making left turns from the right side of a road causes crashes.  Position your bike just right of the center line with your left turn hand signal.  Other cyclists’ mistakes are failing to yield from a driveway, riding on the sidewalk, running a stop sign or signal, and swerving in front of a car.

Okay, car drivers also need some education about sharing the road with bicyclists.  The most common errors are motorists turning either left or right in front of a cyclist followed by running a stop sign or signal.  Motorists are known to inadvertently open car doors into the path of cyclists. Bike riders can ride defensively by cycling five feet left of parked cars. This position allows you to avoid car doors, avoid the swerve reflex, and more space so cars are less likely to pass the cyclist and the parked cars.

Other common accident causes are motorists not seeing bicyclist and errors in overtaking cyclists.  Cyclist should wear bright clothing avoiding dark clothing that make you difficult to see in low light conditions and blending into the Maine foliage. Front and rear bike lights are needed at night for both safety and legal reasons.  Cycling in a more leftward lane position aids in visibility, because it puts the cyclist more where other drivers are already looking for traffic.

For more information, read about the “Rules of the Road” by visiting  Cyclists remember to follow the laws, ride predictably, be conspicuous, think ahead, and keep your cool.


  1. Prevention of accident could be done with the proper arrangement of signal, and there should be separate way for the cyclist. If the major incident take place.
    2 wheelers

  2. Injuries and accidents can be prevented as long as care and safety are prioritized. When on the road by car or bicycle, observe traffic rules so that you will not get into any kind of accident. Children should be properly briefed regarding this so that parents will not have to worry whenever their kids are out for a bike ride.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Here at CBC we always have a pre-ride briefing and go over rules of the road, keeping yourself and the rest of the group safe and comfortable, and some of the potential hazards we may face during the ride. Often times we have kids lead the discussion (leadership role for them) and fill in where they need some guidance.

      We also do not hesitate to stop the ride/ pull over to talk about what we could be doing better and point out things the group is doing well.

  3. Indeed, an effective education will certainly lead to a big change in any setting. Automobile accidents are one of the most common causes of injuries and fatalities; therefore, this should be taken seriously. Drivers should definitely be educated with the proper safety driving measures so that accidents will be avoided. Thank you for sharing his post.