Sharing the road is a necessary part of driving and cycling. But as more and more bicyclists hit the road, accidents between these vehicles are becoming more common.
Car and Bicycle Collisions
Bicycle accidents can range from broken bones to brain injuries, sometimes even resulting in death. Bicyclists are far more likely to be injured in car and bicycle collisions, simply because of the size disparity between the two vehicles. Sharing the road is critical for both parties. In a city with as many cyclists as Portland, Oregon, preventing vehicle and bike collisions has to be a concern for everyone.
Recent Bike Accident Study
Oregon Health Sciences University recently conducted a study evaluating bicycle accidents in Portland, Oregon - affectionately known as "Bike City, U.S.A." The most extensive bicycle accident study ever conducted in North America revealed shocking statistics. The study revealed that one in five Portland bicyclists will have an accident that results in injury. With a bike population as big as Portland's, the number of projected injuries is nearly incomprehensible. Surprisingly, the skill level of the bicyclist had no impact on the likelihood or severity of a collision.
The study also revealed that the majority of bicycle accidents occur when the cyclist loses control of the bike and crashes - in fact, vehicle and bike collisions are fairly rare. Other factors include inclement weather and problematic road conditions. Experts estimate that only about 11% of bicycle collisions are caused by cars. Still, it's important for both drivers and cyclists to take proper precaution to prevent collisions.
Prevention of Bicycle and Car Accidents
If you're a bicyclist, remember to always utilize proper safety protocol when biking on shared roadways. Brush up on your directional indicators, and make sure your bike is updated with the latest safety equipment, including a light for night biking. Experts recommend attaching neon orange safety lights. They'll catch the light of vehicles no matter what time of day. Always wear a helmet, and wear bright colors. Also, consider finding a local bike path in a park - it'll be safer, not to mention more picturesque!
If you're a motorist driving a vehicle on a road frequented by bicyclists, it's important to remain alert at all times. Bicycles, just like cars, are considered vehicles, and should therefore follow all traffic laws. Watch for hand signals or any other indicators from the cyclist that they might be slowing down, stopping, or turning. Accidents frequently occur when drivers are not paying attention. A fender bender is one thing - potentially hitting a bicyclist is another.By learning to properly share the road, both drivers and cyclists can prevent many injuries and potential legal ramifications.