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How to Avoid Bicycle Accidents at Intersections

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Downtown Indianapolis is an interconnected grid of alleys, streets, and pedestrian trails. Increasingly, cities and neighborhoods throughout Marion County and surrounding counties are incorporating bike lanes and walking trails along major streets, encouraging residents to make their commute by bike instead of by car.

With the increased cycling traffic around our state’s capital comes an increased risk of bicycle accidents. According to The Indianapolis Star, bicycle accidents increased as much as 50 percent from 2011 to 2014.

Whether you’re a cyclist or a daily commuter (or both), it’s helpful to know what to watch out for to avoid accidents and what to do if you’re ever involved in one.

Rules of the Road

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Cyclists belong on streets just as much as cars do. When they aren’t designated a side lane to ride in, bike riders should be treated like any other vehicle: give them adequate space and pay attention to their signals and riding behavior.

Though the prospect of driving down Meridian Street without any more protection than a durable helmet may seem like a recipe for disaster, it’s worth noting that only 29 percent of bicycle injuries result from colliding with a car. The majority of injuries from crashes are due to rider error.

Collisions in the Intersection

The second most common location for a bike accident to occur is in the middle of an intersection. For example, a cyclist crosses the flow of traffic when a motor vehicle driver is unaware of his or her presence, and crashes into the car from the side.

Which person would be at fault? Though it may seem like common sense that the bike rider enjoys greater legal protection because they are more like a pedestrian than a car, that’s not the case.

Both parties involved in this accident are considered “vehicles” under Indiana law, which means whoever had the right-of-way can hold the other party liable.

Determining who had the right-of-way in highly specific scenarios may be tricky, so if you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, you can always call a personal injury attorney to help you sort through the details of your case.

Preventing Intersection Collisions

Believe it or not, the direction of traffic plays an important role in determining how to ride a bicycle safely. When you’re stopped at an intersection, especially, it helps to know how everyone at the intersection sees you and predicts your behavior as a cyclist.

For cars turning left down the street you’re attempting to cross, simply remaining visible and watching for their movement helps reduce the chance of collision. Since they are more likely to see you in their field of vision, accidents from this angle are less likely than those from the right.

On the other hand, cars moving in the same direction as you pose a greater risk to your safety. When cars turn right, they can either cut off or collide with a cyclist attempting to cross the intersection. That’s why it’s even more important to be aware of cars heading the same direction as you and to double check your path is clear before entering an intersection. However, in these situations, the car will usually be found at fault.

Help with Your Indiana Bicycle Accident Claim

Cycling in urban areas is becoming increasingly popular in Indiana, and you shouldn’t have to put your safety at risk to save a few dollars on gas each month or to enjoy the spring weather. If you’ve been injured in a collision with a car, don’t hesitate to call us. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you build a strong case and recover damages to help pay for medical bills incurred as a result of your accident.

Your conversation with us is free. Contact us online to discuss your case.