How an Unexpected Right Turn Could Ruin Your Bike Ride

When riding your bike in the road, next to fast-moving vehicles, not only must you follow all of the traffic laws and be constantly aware of your surroundings, but you must also anticipate drivers’ actions. You must understand that, for a driver, bikes are hard to see in blind spots. Depending on how the bicyclist is maneuvering or whether he is following the rules of the road, it can be very hard to anticipate his intended path.

Over the past three years, police have logged nearly 829 bike-related intersection accidents—a majority caused by improper right turns and invisibility issues—in Arlington County alone. This raises the question: why are intersections and turns so dangerous for bikers?

Bicyclists Endangered by Passenger Vehicle Right Turns

In addition to the visibility problem, right turns can prove to be difficult and dangerous for drivers and bicyclists, since the bike lane is situated to the far right, in between the car lane and the turn. This is why a bicyclist must anticipate whether the car next to him will be turning right in order to prevent a tragic t-bone accident.

The three main actions that put bicyclists at risk for a right hand collision are as follows:

  • Riding parallel without stopping. When your bicycle is next to a passenger vehicle, the driver may not notice that you’re there. Therefore, when he slows down to begin a right turn and you don’t slow down or stop, he’ll wind up turning straight into you.
  • Intersection invisibility. Although a motor vehicle shouldn’t turn on red when there is traffic approaching at an intersection, there is a high probability that the won’t see your bike approach. Therefore, he may think he is clear to proceed with the turn, when in actuality he’ll wind up slamming straight into your side.
  • Riding parallel in a bike lane, but then deciding to get into a crosswalk. When you and the car next to you are stopped at a red light, the driver will assume that since you must follow the traffic laws, you’ll remain stopped until the light changes; this will give him the opportunity to turn in front of you as long as he gives you enough clearance. However, if you choose to ignore the traffic laws and try to bypass the light by moving into the crosswalk, the driver of the turning car may not guess your intent and wind up moving into the crosswalk as you pass.

Bicycling can be an extremely treacherous mode of transportation if you’re not constantly alert and prepared for the otherwise unexpected. Always maintain a 360-degree awareness and try to anticipate motorists’ actions, especially at intersections and turns to avoid a catastrophic side collision.

Make sure your family and friends are protected by sharing this page with them via Facebook or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about a recent accident. We’re so confident that we can help, the consultation is free. You have nothing to lose but the chance to receive experienced and knowledgeable advice. Call now.

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