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Avoiding Bike Accidents: A Safety Guide for California Drivers

Sep 11, 2008
With gas prices on the rise, many Californians are turning to bikes as an alternative to the automobile. While there are many benefits to cycling, there are also risks involved since bikes are much more vulnerable to damage than motor vehicles. While everybody else on the road tends to drive a certain speed, cyclists often can't keep up with the flow and can be a safety hazard for the unaware driver.

In order to minimize the amount of bike accidents in California, it is important for drivers across the state to understand how to share the road with cyclists. Here are a few tips for drivers to avoid causing bike accidents in California:

Pay Attention! Cyclists, like pedestrians, aren't as visible as vehicles on the road and sometimes catch drivers off guard. Here are a few ways you can be more careful around cyclists:

Shoulder Check: It is important to always shoulder check since bikes are narrow and can often be hidden in your blind spot. Make sure you look around before opening your door to get out of your vehicle, pull away from the curb while driving, or move to the right to shift lanes or take a right turn.

Night Driving: While it is the law in California for cyclists to have lights while driving at night, this is not always the case. You should be extremely careful while driving at night when visibility is diminished.

Scan Intersections: If you are driving straight, you need to watch for the possibility of a cyclist making a left turn from your lane. You should also be careful when you are turning left as a cyclist is much less visible than a vehicle. Lastly, you need to be aware that cyclists may be riding much faster than you would normally think so calculate the speed and distance accurately to avoid a bike accident.

Know the Rules: While bikes aren't the same size as vehicles, they follow the same rules as automobiles and have the same right to the road. While cyclists in California usually stay as close to the right of their lane as possible, this isn't always the case. If they are making a left turn, for instance, they will be on the left. You should yield to a cyclist in the same manner as you would to any other vehicle.

Give Space: Many bike accidents in California occur because vehicles don't give the cyclists enough space. You should follow at a distance when approaching a cyclist in order to avoid hitting them if they fall. Also, when you are passing a biker you should give plenty of room to prevent side-swiping.

Communicate: By understanding the hand signals you'll know where the cyclist is going if they intend to turn. Unless it is an urgent situation, you should avoid honking your horn at a cyclist since it will often startle them and increase the chances of a bike accident.

While cyclists need to be careful to avoid accidents, it is also the role of other drivers to share the road and help decrease the number of tragic bike accidents that happen in California each year. If you are ever involved in a bike accident, you should get out of your vehicle immediately to assist the cyclist and, if necessary, call for medical attention.
About the Author
John Bisnar is a partner of Personal Injury Law Firm Bisnar Chase. The Bisnar Chase law firm has dedicated their practice to victims of serious injury due to negligence and malpractice.

Visit the main website at http://www.Accidentinjuryattorneyscalifornia.com or call 888-265-0161
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