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Southern California Bicycle Law Blog

6 types of dangerous bike vs. car accidents

Bicycle versus car accidents can happen in many ways, but studies have found some of the most common types of crashes. If both drivers and cyclists are aware of these accidents, they may be able to take steps to prevent or avoid them.

That does not mean accidents won't happen. People make mistakes, and vigilance and a commitment to safety are required to avoid these critical errors. Even good drivers suffer from lapses in judgment. However, education is the first step toward making the roads safer, so here are six of these common types of collisions to keep in mind:

  1. At an intersection, the driver has a stop sign and the cyclist doesn't, but the car pulls out into the bicycle's path.
  2. Similarly, the cyclist has a stop sign and the driver does not, but the cyclist rides out into the path of the car.
  3. A driver pulls out into the road from behind an obstruction, such as emerging from an alley between two buildings, where the driver cannot see the cyclist in the road and the cyclist cannot see the car.
  4. The driver turns left into the path of the bicycle, crossing into the cyclist's lane.
  5. The cyclist slows down to turn left and gets struck from behind by a car in the same lane.
  6. The driver attempts to turn to the right and hits a cyclist who is going straight but, due to staying near the shoulder, is actually on the right side of the car.

3 tips for holiday shopping on your bicycle

The holiday season can be tricky for a bike enthusiast. Whether you do not have a car or simply prefer to ride your bicycle, you may wonder how you will manage shopping for the holidays. Holiday shopping by bike may be a little challenging at first, but it is possible if you get the right gear and prepare yourself for madness on the roads.

Whether you are purchasing a holiday feast from the grocery store or buying presents at the mall, you can accomplish it all on your bike. Here are some tips for safely and effectively shopping by bicycle.

Tips for treating road rash after a bike accident

People sometimes think of road rash as a "minor" injury in a bicycling accident. Compared to a head or brain injury, it is relatively minor, but this doesn't mean you should underestimate the impact. It can be incredibly painful and keep you out of work. It can get infected and lead to serious complications. It can lead to scarring that forever changes your appearance. You have to take road rash seriously.

To that end, here are a few tips for treating road rash after an accident:

  • Use water to clean the injury site as soon as you can.
  • While cleaning the wound, try to dab at the area, rather than scrubbing.
  • Add Neosporin or a similar ointment to help the wound heal and to prevent infection.
  • Wrap the area with bandages.
  • Change those bandages on a daily basis, adding more ointment or cleaning the site as needed.
  • Add a moisturizer and massage the area. This can reduce the chances that you'll be left with a serious scar.

Key statistics about bicycle accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) often looks at bicycle accident statistics in an effort to figure out how to make the roads safer for cyclists. There will always be an inherent danger, but that does not mean steps can't be taken to protect cyclists. Many accidents are easily avoidable.

To get a better idea of the level of risk in the United States, here are a few key statistics from NHTSA:

  • The most fatal bicycle accidents happened from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This is interesting because that is still during daylight hours, so a lack of visibility did not necessarily play a role. This time frame is when 20 percent of deadly accidents occurred.
  • By a wide margin, cycling in urban areas was more dangerous than rural areas. A full 71 percent of the deadly wrecks happened on urban streets.
  • Overall, cyclists make up a very small percentage of traffic fatalities. In 2016, for instance, they made up just 2.2 percent of the total.
  • Roughly one out of three accidents involved alcohol (29 percent). This counts use by both cyclists and drivers, and it only counts cases in which one person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at the legal limit of .08 percent or greater.
  • Men face far higher risks. A full 84 percent of cyclists who died in these accidents were men, and just 16 percent were women.
  • Most injuries to men happened to those who ranged in age from 55 years old to 59 years old. This is interesting because it is often assumed that young people face higher risks.

Woman from California involved in deadly bicycle accident

A woman from California was behind the wheel in a deadly bicycle accident that happened in New Jersey.

The man who was killed in the crash had formerly served as the president for the Long Hill Board of Education. He was 54 years old. Reports indicate that the accident happened at 3:06 p.m.

Why you should consider a bicycle commute

Are you thinking about changing up your morning commute? Maybe you are simply sick of spending so much time trapped in the car. Maybe you are starting to look for ways to reduce your environmental impact. For these and other reasons, it may be time to consider a bicycle commute. Below are five reasons that biking to work has become so popular and may be worth considering:

1. It can cut down on your monthly bills. Experts estimate that it costs people around $9,000 per year just to own a car. What could you do with all of that money?

How should bicyclists handle road rage?

Los Angeles is one of the most precarious cities for bicyclists. With heavy traffic and a lot of twisty roadways, many bicyclists simply believe it is not safe to ride around Southern California. 

On top of environmental factors, bicyclists also need to watch out for other drivers getting road rage. Although motorists need to share the roadway with bicyclists, some people simply become angered at the slightest inconvenience a bicyclist may pose. When this occurs, there are some tips bicyclists should bear in mind.

Do bike lanes really help?

In order to make it safer and easier for cyclists to share the road with cars, many areas have implemented special bike lanes that cyclists can use. These are generally just thin lanes running along the right-hand side of the road.

Do they really help? What are the pros and cons?

Police seek hit-and-run driver after bicycle crash

Bicycles are a big part of California's transportation infrastructure. Bikes help adults stay fit and environmentally conscious, and the Bay Area is home to the nation's first bicycle highway system. The love of bikes often begins in youth, when bikes are smaller and the world seems bigger.

Many residential streets in Southern California feature children riding bikes around the block, and parents look out for the kids in their neighborhood. Community vigilance may help bring a driver to justice after two children were injured while riding their bikes in a San Jose intersection.

Pick the right type of helmet for your bike

You know that it is smart to wear a helmet when you ride your bike, but did you know that not all bike helmets are the same? It is critical that you understand the differences between the different styles and how to pick the right one for you.

For instance, many mountain bike helmets have visors on the top. This helps to block the sun and gives you a little more protection. Since there is no vehicle traffic on the trails, you can keep your head down and not worry about the way that the visor cuts off some of your forward vision. Additionally, mountain bikes have straight handlebars and you ride them sitting up a bit higher than road bikes, so the visor isn't in the way.

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