What are causes of bike accidents and how might drivers avoid them?


It bears repeating that those who practice “Vehicular Cycling” – riding their bike the way they drive their motorized vehicle – are in 75-80% fewer accidents!

Causes of bike crashes include distracted driving due to:
• Texting
• Cell phone usage
• Alcohol and/or drug usage
Other causes include:
• Lack of awareness of cyclist’s presence on the road
• Poor vision
• Health issues
• Impatience
• Misjudgment
Types of bike crashes include:
• The Rear End: Just how it sounds, cyclists get hit by a car from behind.
• The Left Cross: A car turning left turns directly in front of an oncoming cyclist.
• The Right Hook, Part 1: A car passes a cyclist on the left, then turns right directly in front of the cyclist.
• The Right Hook, Part 2: A cyclist is passing a slow-moving car on the right, then it turns directly into the cyclist.
• Dooring: When a driver carelessly opens the door of their parked car into a bicyclist passing on the left. The “Dutch Reach” is when they open their driver side door with their RIGHT hand, causing their body to swivel to the left — and giving them an automatic view of oncoming traffic. Ohio ORC §4511.70 (C) states, in part, that “no person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic”. Cleveland Ordinance §451.07 says that “traffic” includes bicycles, providing clearer protection to cyclists. Lakewood Ordinance §331.48 simply mirrors Ohio Revised Code without specifically mentioning bicycles. However, since bicycles are vehicles and a part of traffic, both the ORC and Lakewood Ordinance should protect a cyclist, regarding dooring. Ken was interviewed on the topic of dooring by WKYC’s The Investigator, Tom Meyers: https://www.wkyc.com/article/news/investigations/investigator-bicyclists-car-doors-collide-with-painful-results/95-455572541

Drivers, please watch for cyclists on the road — look three ways! Look to the left, look to the right, then look for a cyclist in front of you, behind you when you turn right, and when you turn left.
If you see a pack of cyclists passing you, look for another pack or even a single straggler.
A driver can legally pass a cyclist providing they don’t exceed the speed limit and it is safe to do so; they must allow at least three feet when passing a cyclist. It is legal for the driver to cross over a double-yellow line when passing. http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.31 (B) (1) (2) (3)

Attorney & Cyclist Kenneth Knabe: Protecting Cleveland’s Cyclists through injury representation, sponsorships, publishing, lecturing and Vision Zero safety legislation. Knabe Law Firm Co., LPA: 14222 Madison Avenue, Lakewood, Ohio 44107. Phone: 216-228-7200

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