Riding Predictably: Thinking Like a Motorist Can Help Prevent Virginia and D.C. Bicycling Accidents

Every form of transportation has its own set of very standard, strict rules. If it did not, everything would be chaos. Some, like trains, are quite simple—rails, switches, and dispatchers make sure that trains “stay the course.” Air travel gets even more complicated. A complex set of rules, onboard collision alert systems, and thousands of air traffic controllers ensure that every plane at busy airports remain a safe distance apart. At smaller, uncontrolled air fields, pilots are expected to follow standard patterns while constantly updating other pilots on their intentions and current positions.

Perhaps the most complex set of rules belongs to the cars that we drive every day, which could seem odd—it is the one mode of transportation that practically everyone participates in with minimal training. The reason it works so well, though, is that every driver follows the same set of rules, making everyone’s driving fairly predictable.

Rebel, Rebel – There's no room for rogue cycling while sharing the road

You may be wondering why we are focusing so much on cars in a piece meant for District area bicycle accidents. The truth is, if you have ever encountered a bicyclist doing the wrong thing while driving, you know how important the point we are trying to make is—predictability on everybody’s behalf is critical for safety.

Say, for instance, you are driving down the road and looking to turn right. As a cyclist yourself, you check your mirrors for any cyclists who may be approaching you from behind in the bicycle lane or even on the sidewalk (because you know that not every cyclist is a real “pro” yet). As you start your right turn, a cyclist riding against traffic goes through the crosswalk and you narrowly avoid hitting him.

As cyclists, we are often made to think that motorists are the “enemy,” but in reality, there are many drivers who do double check their mirrors and give you just a little wider berth on the road. It is for these drivers (and our own safety) that it is critical that we follow the standard rules for bicyclists sharing the road. Whether it feels like it or not, more drivers do look out for us on the road, and riding as they expect us to allows our “sword of safety” to be double-edged.

When the unpredictable happens, our Maryland bicycle accident lawyers are here for you

No matter how careful you are, sometimes the unthinkable can happen. When you are injured in a D.C. bike accident, call Lewis & Tompkins’ Maryland bicycle accident attorneys today at 202-296-0666 to find out how you can get the compensation that you deserve for your accident.

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