Bicycles emerging as a primary means of transportation has been mostly a good thing. Unfortunately, more bicycles on the roads has led to a commensurate increase in accidents between them and cars. This has fueled a debate over who is primarily at fault for such accidents.
Both cyclists and car drivers are quick to point fingers at one another. Yet the truth is actually somewhere in the middle. Avoiding accidents between cars and bicycles is a two-way street. Both car driver and cyclist share equal responsibility.
Florida’s VG Law Group, a team of expert Florida car accident attorneys, says that car-bicycle accidents could be reduced if everyone on the roads would assume the responsibility of doing so. Just changing the way we drive would make an enormous difference.
What Car Drivers Can Do
Though car drivers are not necessarily more responsible for mitigating accidents, they should understand that they always have the advantage of being in a car. A car driver is a lot less likely to be injured or killed as compared to a cyclist. With that knowledge, here are things car drivers can do to reduce accidents between cars and bicycles:
If you are driving your car and you see a cyclist ahead, do him/her a favor and just slow down a bit. You never know if circumstances will cause him/her to pull out in front of you. There is also no way of knowing that cars in front of you will not cause problems. Slowing down affords the opportunity to stop more quickly to avoid an accident.
Give Them Space
Next, give cyclists the space they need to safely ride. Even if it takes an extra 5 to 10 seconds to navigate around cyclists, give them that space. The time you lose doing so is time you will not even notice has been lost.
Accept the Law
Third, accept the fact that the law recognizes both bicycles as legal forms of transportation and the cyclist’s right to use public roads. Simply put, the law does not dictate that public roads are only for motorized vehicles. Bike riders have every bit as much right to be there as you do. So rather than being bitter and angry, just accept it and move on.
What Cyclists Can Do
Cyclists have as much responsibility for avoiding accidents as car drivers. If you are a cyclist, understand that not doing what you can do to avoid accidents is irresponsible. Any lack of responsible riding could mean you have no case should you ever have to contact a car accident attorney. Here’s what you should be doing:
Make Yourself Visible
It’s not uncommon for car-bike accidents to happen simply because car drivers don’t see cyclists. You can help yourself a great deal in this regard by making yourself as visible as possible. Wear high visibility clothing whenever you’re on your bike. And if you must ride at night, make sure your bike is equipped with lights and reflectors.
Obey Traffic Laws
Just like car drivers need to accept the legal rights of cyclists, bike riders have a responsibility to obey all traffic laws. Do not weave in and out of traffic just because you can. Don’t ride against red lights or initiate lane changes without signaling. If you are unhappy that car drivers don’t show you any respect, ask yourself whether or not you are showing an equal lack of respect by disobeying the law.
Accidents between cars and bikes are completely avoidable. It’s just a matter of every driver and rider respecting others and obeying the law.