Red Lights and Right Turns: Common Washington, DC Bicycle Accident Causes and How to Avoid Them

Bicycling is an interesting thing. As a hobby, sport, and mode of transportation, it has amassed many fans. Washington, DC is quickly becoming one of the bicycling capitals of the world, and as more people take to the streets on their bicycles, the more important it is to expose some of the most dangerous situations you can get into as a cyclist.

The first common cause of DC-area bicycle accidents is one that you may not expect—being stopped at a red light. Since many bicyclists ride as far to the right as possible, many bikers end up beside a car while stopped at a red light. If both of you decided to go straight, there will not be a problem. Unfortunately, what often happens is that the car will turn right when you try to go straight, clipping you in the process.

The way to avoid problems with this is fairly simple. If it is possible to get directly behind the car, as though you were another car, you will avoid the risk of being hit by the first car and are visible to the car behind you. If you are unable to get behind the car, you have two options while you are beside the car—either be toward the front of the car or toward the back.

If you are toward the front of the car, cross the street as soon as the light turns green so that you are not in the way of the car trying to turn right beside you. If you are slightly behind the car, wait for that car to move so that if they are turning right, you will not be hit, then continue on your way.

Right-turning cars while you are moving can be just as likely to cause you injury in a Washington, DC cycling accident. Many times, cars will misjudge your speed and feel as though they are able to pass you to turn right in front of you. In order to avoid this, be sure that you are clearly visible to traffic (do not ride on the sidewalk through busy intersections!), and as you approach an intersection, be aware of traffic behind you and assume that they may try to turn right.

If you are injured while cycling, and the driver who hit you was being negligent, you may be able to recover significant damages. The Bethesda bicycle accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins can help you make sure that you receive maximum compensation—call today at 202.296.0666 for a free consultation.

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