Riding a bicycle can be dangerous if we do not put enough care and attention into it. While there are safety measures we need to heed at all times, awareness is also key.
It is important to know bike crashes are most common when and in what situations.
Examples include riding in the middle of a busy street surrounded by traffic or cycling in conditions with poor visibility. These can put any biker in a tight spot regardless of experience or skill.
Find out more below.
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Bicycle Accidents Based on Crash Data
When it comes to safety, it’s all about knowing what to do during emergencies. But it also helps to know what to avoid getting ourselves into. This is why it’s a good idea to familiarize ourselves with what causes crashes in the first place.
If you think about it, the most common reason for accidents could be that people’s bikes suffer some sort of malfunction. However, this is not the case, according to crash fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which monitors traffic data to enforce vehicle standards.
As that famous TV show says, the evidence does not lie. Let’s take a look at what the compiled data tells us.
Most Common Causes of Bike Crashes
Not paying attention to what you’re doing can get you into trouble, whether it’s work or operating a vehicle. This is also one of the most common causes of bicycle accidents. The repercussions can be severe, depending on where you are.
Inattention can take many forms, from being distracted by something you see to using your phone — these can all get you into trouble. Worse is if you involve others in a dangerous situation. Becoming distracted while on the road may lead to a crash with a motor vehicle, which has a high chance of fatality.
2. Failure to follow traffic rules
Even when riding a bicycle, it is important to follow traffic rules and regulations. This is not just about avoiding trouble with authorities; it’s about keeping safe.
Sometimes, we feel like it might be fine to cut corners here and there, such as squeezing through between vehicles or not keeping a safe distance from them, but this can be costly.
Weaving through traffic can be dangerous because motorists are less likely to see cyclists, and bicycles are also less likely to be able to escape a crash situation.
Keeping proper distance can also help avoid another common type of cycling accident, the right hook; this is when a motor vehicle suddenly turns a corner, resulting in a collision with a bike. The best thing to do is to be more mindful of vehicles behind you.
Other situations that can be avoided by adhering to traffic rules to the letter include accidents involving changing lanes recklessly.
Though we’ve focused on what bikers can do, there are situations where it is other people’s fault for not following traffic regulations. Unfortunately, cyclists can only be more vigilant and be on constant lookout for any signs of danger.
3. When Intoxicated
Driving under the influence is dangerous for any motorist, and it is for cyclists as well. You can be a threat to others while on a bike, just as others can be a threat to you.
According to NHTSA biking accidents statistics, over 30% of all crashes resulting in pedal cyclist fatalities involve someone under the influence. While it may not seem like a large percentage, this means many people wouldn’t have gotten into accidents in the first place if they had avoided driving or biking while intoxicated.
4. Riding in poor visibility
Riding when it is dark or hard to see spells trouble for everyone. Other than you having a hard time navigating the road and avoiding collisions, it can also be difficult for others to see and avoid you.
Based on cycling accident statistics for 2020, over 40% of all crashes occurred during hours when the sun is out.
Many places have strict laws regarding visibility measures for bicycles; these include having reflectors on your bike and your person.
Location is also important for these reflectors, so make sure to follow guidelines for safety on the road. Making proper use of these devices can keep you out of harm’s way, so be certain to attach them properly.
Looking out for speeding vehicles is a given, but it is worth mentioning that speeding on a bike can only make things worse. Be aware of where you are and pay attention to your surroundings. Biking at a moderate speed will help you look out for danger and react accordingly.
If you need to speed up, make sure to mind your location. Having bicycle safety gear will also help, in case you get tangled up in an unfortunate incident. It is equally important to use equipment that fits properly and to use them the right way.
6. Dooring incidents
This refers to when a car parks by the roadside and opens its door. This may result in a cyclist getting caught by the opened door and not having enough time to evade. Such an accident may cause serious injuries.
Getting too near vehicles may result in a similar problem, and keeping the right distance is the best thing you can do to avoid accidents.
Most Likely Time to Have a Bicycle Accident
The difference between light and dark hours is smaller than you would think, with 50% of all accidents occurring during daylight and 45% during dark hours.
The remaining 5% occurs during dusk and dawn. This is based on data from bicycle accidents statistics published by the NHTSA.
When breaking down hours into time blocks, 6 PM to 9 PM is the time when most cyclist accidents occur, while 9 PM to midnight comes close. These two time periods change places during summer, with the latter time edging out the former by just 2%.
Where Most Bicycle Accidents Occur
Most reported incidents are from urban areas at 79%, while rural areas only account for 21% of incidents.
As for the specific location, 64% are in non-intersection areas while 26% are incidents from intersections. This means that only 10% of fatal accidents happened away from road junctions.
What we can learn from this is that road bicycle crashes happen in areas with higher flows of traffic, so we should heighten our caution when riding in such places.
With so many bike-related deaths occurring on roads, we should treat this as a warning of what may come to pass should we neglect the proper bike safety measures.
Now, you know that bike crashes are most common when we have poor visibility or are intoxicated.
Aside from following traffic guidelines, when Aceable and other driver’s ed institutions decide to offer bicycle courses, you should consider taking them. For now, let’s keep what we learned in mind to stay safe.
What do you think are the most dangerous causes of cycling accidents? Tell us in the comments section below.
Always ride safely.
“I ride my bike to work for years, but is that enough? Our carelessness towards our surroundings has taken a toll on the environment. And now, everyone is responsible for changes; even the most minor contribution is counted. With this hope and spirit, I started with my partner to establish Biketoworkday to help more individuals commute to their work sites on their bikes.”