Max Draitser - Southern California Bicycle Attorneys

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Will short-range radar prevent cyclist injuries and fatalities?

If you regularly ride on any of Los Angeles’s congested roadways, you undoubtedly understand the risk turning cars pose to your personal safety. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most common type of car-bike collision occurs when turning or merging vehicles cross the path of cyclists.

Because all cars, trucks and SUVs have driver blind spots, motorists should check their mirrors and look over their shoulders before turning, merging or changing lanes. Even then, due to inattentional blindness or other reasons, drivers simply may not see cyclists. Short-range radar may be the solution.

An in-cabin warning

Some new vehicles have onboard radar systems that alert drivers to collision risks. For drivers with older or unequipped cars, aftermarket short-range radars are now available for in-cabin installation. These radars scan for cyclists and sound an alarm when they are present. Some even illuminate warning lights or automatically apply a vehicle’s brakes to prevent catastrophic collisions.

A false sense of security

Vehicle safety enhancements are generally good for cyclists and the public at large. Nevertheless, like with backup cameras and other features, short-term radar does not take the place of responsible driving.

Even if motorists have vehicles with radar, they must keep a close eye out for cyclists. Put simply, because keeping cyclists safe requires a multi-faceted approach, radars must not lure drivers into a false sense of security.

Defensive riding

Aftermarket short-term radar technology remains comparatively expensive. Even when the price drops, some motorists may not recognize the importance of installing short-term radars on their vehicles. They may also not perform regular maintenance and calibration to ensure radars work properly.

Ultimately, while aftermarket short-range radars may help to decrease the number of car-bike crashes, they are no substitute for defensive riding or responsible driving.