Cycling is a great way to get exercise and an eco-friendly way to travel. Tennessee, with its lush greenery and scenic routes, is the perfect place for cyclists. However, it can also be a dangerous pastime. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2010, 618 cyclists were killed and an additional 52,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes throughout the United States. The number of cyclist killed in crashes involving automobiles increased by 16 percent between 2010 and 2012.
What makes cycling so dangerous is that bike riders are vulnerable to motorized vehicles because they have so little protection. Some of the most common bicycle accidents that occur include:
- Accidents at stop signs. The most frequent type of intersection collision occurs when the cyclist has a stop sign but the driver of the automobile does not. Often, the cyclist stops at the sign then enters the intersection when the vehicle has the right of way.
- Left cross. This type of accident occurs when a motorist does not see a cyclist and attempts to make a left turn.
- Right hook. This common collision occurs when a motorist passes a cyclist on the left, turning directly into the bicycle's path.
- Getting doored. A cyclist can be seriously injured when traveling by parked cars if a motorist suddenly opens a car door, striking the biker.
- Being overtaken. This accident is caused when a motorist overtakes a cyclist from behind. Some drivers leave only a small gap between their vehicle and the cyclist when more room is needed to pass safely.
- Getting swiped. This happens when a motorist hits a cyclist while exiting a parking lot or driveway directly into the path of a cyclist.
No two cycling accidents are the same, and not all of them involve motorists. As well as collisions with other vehicles, bike accidents may also be caused by dangerous roadways or pathways or a manufacturing defect in the bicycle.
How to Avoid Bicycle Traffic Accidents
You can minimize your risk of being injured in a bicycle traffic accident by taking the following measures:
- Never ride against traffic.
- Maximize your visibility.
- Keep a proper lookout when approaching an intersection, and adjust your speed.
- Avoid entering a car’s blind spot when you are approaching from behind.
- Never overtake a car on the right side when approaching intersections or driveways.
- Always use a mirror, and check it an intersections.
- Consider using the crosswalk when crossing at an intersection.
- Prepare to adjust your lane position by cycling closer to the car lane or adopting the entire right lane when approaching an intersection.
- Prepare to brake quickly if a car cuts you off at an intersection.
- Prepare to cycle as closely as you can to the right curb or road shoulder if other vehicles are traveling at a faster speed than you are.
- Do not ride abreast of other cyclists unless you are on a road designated just for cyclists.
In the state of Tennessee, cyclists have the same rights on the road as drivers of motor vehicles. The Volunteer State also has a modified comparative fault system. This means if you have been injured in a bicycle collision, you can still recover damages as long as your fault remains less than the other party involved. In this case, the damages you are awarded will be reduced by a percentage equivalent to your negligence.
If you or a love one suffered injuries in a bicycle accident due to a driver’s negligence or recklessness, it’s important that you discuss the incident with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer right way. At GriffithLaw, our expert team can answer all our questions and address your concerns. Visit our website today for a free online chat, or call our Nashville law office today at 877-959-8847. You can also request a copy of our free book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make with Your Tennessee Injury Case.