Who Causes Accidents More Often, Cyclists or Motorists?

Woman on red bikeEveryone in America has a responsibility to share the road. This means motorists, bikers, cyclists, and pedestrians all have to learn to get along. Yet, each year thousands of bicyclists are injured and killed in motor vehicle accidents on the road. Motor vehicle drivers are quick to point the finger, citing lack of bicycle safety or riding in the middle of the lane. Bicyclists, on the other hand, are quick to point out that motor vehicle drivers don’t always pay attention to them in the road or cut them off when they have the legal right-of-way.

So this begs the question: Who causes accidents more often: Cyclists or Motorcyclists?

A new survey by the University of Colorado uncovered that both cyclists and motorists break the law habitually. They surveyed 18,000 people to uncover just how often cyclists and motorists ignored traffic regulations. They found that both cyclists and motorists had similar rates of infractions €“ between 7-9%. Cyclists often glided past a stop sign or through an intersection with a red light, while motorists often drive 5 -10mph over the legal speed limit or cruise through a stop sign. Yet, there was one crucial difference: Drivers and even pedestrians will drive/walk through an empty intersection red light to save time and arrive at their destination sooner. Cyclists, on the other hand, would ride through the red light at an empty intersection to avoid being hit. In their minds, it is a better choice for their safety.

Do You Know How to Share the Road?

Every year more than 700 people die in bicycle accidents and an additional 45,000 are injured. Since 2000, bicycling has seen a resurgence in popularity and commuting by bicycle has increased 43%. Yet, most motorists do not really understand how to share the road with cyclists. When do they have the right-of-way and are cyclists supposed to follow the same rules of the road?

Tips for Sharing Road with Cyclists

If a bicyclist is on your right-hand side €“ he or she has the right of way if he is going straight and you are turning. You must wait for the bicyclist to go straight prior to turning right. NEVER park or ride your vehicle in a designated bike lane. It is a bicycle lane for a reason €“ and gives cyclists a place to ride that is safe and out of the way. When a bicyclist has to swerve a parked car in their lane, they risk being injured or hit by other vehicles. Give bicyclists a little room to ride. If you are able, try to give a bicyclist a little more room to ride when you pass them. Never pass a cyclist while speeding and avoid getting too close with your vehicle. Cyclists may ride far away from a row of parked cars in order to avoid getting “doored”. If you are parked in an area with cyclists and getting out of your vehicle, look around first to avoid swinging your open door into an oncoming biker. Try to be patient with cyclists. While not all bicyclists obey the rules of the road €“ a little patience goes a long way when dealing with them. Wait to pass that cyclist until you can do so safely and avoid honking your horn at them. A startled cyclist could veer into oncoming traffic. Cyclists are supposed to ride on the right-hand side of the road or in a designated bike lane. Drivers should stay within 3 feet of the bicyclist at all times. If you hit a bicyclist and were found to be driving too close, you could be found liable for the accident.

Further Reading: Lead By Example When it Comes to Dangerous Driving Habits

Tips for Sharing Road with Motor Vehicle Drivers

Avoid taking unnecessary risks on the open road. Inconsistent zipping through traffic may be time saving, but can increase the likelihood of you being injured or killed in an accident. You need all your senses to stay safe on a bike. Avoid listening to music while riding €“ especially when riding in traffic Don’t ride between two rows of cars stopped at a light. The time you save is negligible compared to the risks. Always wear reflective gear or brightly colored clothing €“you can help other drivers see you better and thus reduce your risk of an accident. It goes without saying €“ but always wear a bike helmet. Always. Signal your turns. Not only will they let other drivers know what you are doing €“ but the hand movement also alerts distracted drivers to your presence on the road. If you get into an altercation with a motorist, take a picture or video and report them to the authorities. Get their driver’s license number and make sure the police know what happened.

Contact Our Denver Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Denver Bicycle Accident Attorney John R. Fuller and StaffIf you have been the victim of a bicycle accident in Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, or anywhere in the State of Colorado and suffered serious injury, it is time to speak to a knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney. Your attorney can give you the time you need to heal while aggressively fighting for your rights to compensation for your injuries. Contact the Denver Law Firm of John R. Fuller, P.C. today at 303-597-4500 for a free initial consultation.

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