Top 20 Most Common Bicycle Crashes (and How to Avoid Them)
The frequency of bicycle accidents has increased dramatically over the past few years. Now although there are many different reasons behind these accidents, usually, they are the result of irresponsible behavior of the rider on the road when moving against a car or a bike.
Here are the most common bicycle crashes you’ll see:
- Distracted riding
- Unnecessary speeding
- Moving fast around traffic areas
- Turning irresponsibly
- Passing a red light
- Riding under influence
- Riding in a hot weather
In this article, I will discuss the most common bicycle crashes and potential ways you can avoid them.
Top 20 Most Common Bicycle Crashes
Most bike crashes occur on public roads and usually, an automobile or a cab is involved in the accident. A bike can be hit from the back or from the side by a car due to the irresponsible braking of the automobile.
There can be various other factors contributing to the prevalence of these bike crashes, all of which I will discuss below.
Most bike crashes occur because automobile driver is usually distracted by their phone and easily lose control of the car. The car, in turn, hits the rider and crashes.
These accidents can be fatal for the bike rider simply because of the size and protective differences between both vehicles.
The most common distractions due to which these crashes occur are texting, replying, emailing, using social networks, watching videos, etc.
Sometimes these accidents occur because the rider is distracted and not focused on the road ahead and may crash into a car moving at high speeds on a public road.
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Speeding is one of the most common causes of bike crashes. When bike rider is riding at a high speed, they are more prone to accidents because they have less control over the bike and less time to make a properly formed decision when deciding their pathway.
Sometimes it is the driver that is crazily speeding and when they reach the bike, they are unable to brake on time and eventually hit the rider.
High-speed collisions are especially dangerous and prove to be fatal for the rider. However, low-speed collisions are very common and can be really hazardous for riders.
#3 Not Keeping Enough Distance
Many bikers make this rookie mistake in that they ride very close to the cars and other vehicles on the road. Whenever these vehicles suddenly brake, the bike directly crashes into the car from behind.
Even though these situations are less dangerous, they can damage the car and your bike easily. Thus, as a rule of thumb,
You should always keep a 3 feet distance while riding from any vehicle.
Sometimes, the cars themselves don’t keep enough distance from the bike riders and may easily crash into them when they brake. This situation is more dangerous for bike riders since they are being hit from behind.
#4 Moving Around Traffic Ridden Areas
Have you ever seen those riders that are always moving stylishly on the road and not riding in a straight pathway? Well, that looks cool and all until they ride in high-traffic areas.
These traffic-ridden areas are dangerous for such biking because they afford you less control over the bike and may lead you to easily crash into a car.
Moreover, these riders frequently stray from the bicycle lanes and find themselves to be stuck in high-traffic situations with no way out.
These evasive movements of the rider are more likely to result in a bike crash and thus, should be avoided whenever possible.
#5 Careless and Frequent Lane Changes
As a rider, you need to be extremely careful if you are changing lanes. Many accidents occur because the riders fail to look around when changing lanes. This results in a high-speed car crashing into them and causing a high-risk accident.
Whenever you are changing lanes, you need to look around to see if there are any vehicles nearby. Until and unless the road is clear or the vehicles are far away from you, you should not change lanes.
Remember that in any accident, a bike rider is at a greater risk of getting injured than the other person who may be in their car.
#6 Turning Without Checking
Making turns without first confirming that any other vehicle is headed in the same direction as you are highly hazardous. It is just as dangerous as careless lane changes, if not more.
There are numerous junctions that give the green light to drivers for turning and checking for bicyclists and pedestrians. Carelessness drivers may not do that and can crash easily into your bike.
Moreover, you need to be careful at every turn too. As a biker, you should always look on both sides of the road and confirm that it is clear for you to go.
If you are speeding and don’t stop at every junction, you are prone to crashing your bike to a vehicle.
#7 Passing a Red Light
Many accidents occur due to drivers disregarding the red light and continuing on the road. When this happens, these drivers fail to check for the bike riders and pedestrians. This eventually results in a bicycle crash and greatly injures both of them.
Riders often think of themselves above the rule and may cross a red light just because they are on a bike. Such carelessness should not be practiced because it increases your chances of crashing into a car.
To avoid such accidents, you should always follow the traffic rules and never cross a red light.
#8 Being Irresponsible
Most bike crashes occur due to the irresponsible behavior and practices of drivers and riders alike.
While it makes sense that you want to reach your destination on time, it is not worth risking your life for. Such failure to yield results in highly hazardous situations for bicyclists.
For example, if you are on a roundabout or an intersection, you should yield to the incoming car or bike traffic. This way you can avoid many dangerous accidents and reach your destination on time and in one piece.
#9 Driving While Being Intoxicated
We know all too well that most car and bike crashes occur when people are drunk and driving. Many drivers partake in irresponsible driving while under the influence of alcohol.
These people not only risk their lives through such dangerous practices but also the lives of other drivers and bike riders that may fall victim to such practices.
Alcohol reduces the driver’s ability to focus on the road and proves to be a great obstacle for them in making sound decisions. This is especially dangerous for bike riders that may get crashed into in such situations.
» You can also read my post: How to Tighten Your Bike Chain
#10 Door Accidents
Dooring accidents have become way too common now. Many a time, there are car doors open on the side of the road. Many bicyclists that are speeding on the road crash into these open car doors.
These accidents often occur spontaneously. For example, if a bicyclist is moving on the road at a high speed and suddenly a car door opens right in front of them, they would have less time to react and easily crash into the door.
Thus, the responsibility entirely falls on the car driver to first check if someone is on the road before opening the door.
A dooring accident leads to severe injuries to the rider and you should always be careful when riding on roads to have a minimal and optimal controllable speed of your bike.
#11 Driver Fatigue
Besides driving while intoxicated, another common cause of accidents is driving while fatigued.
It is highly likely that drivers who have had a long day at the office or are worried about something or are in a hurry to reach their destination can easily disregard a bike and crash into it.
Even though it is less dangerous than driving while intoxicated, it is nonetheless a common reason for bike crashes.
To avoid such accidents, it is generally safer to only go out on your bike on public roads during the day rather than the night.
#12 Dangerous Collisions
There are many drivers who are reckless and speedy on highways. These drivers can completely disregard the traffic rules and make drifts and lane changes that can severely affect the bike riders on the road.
These incessant practices can lead to an aggressive dangerous collision of the car with the bike rider and may injure both parties severely.
If you are riding your bike on a highway, you should ensure that you are only staying in your lane and not frequently changing it.
Moreover, you also need to ride your bike at a high speed because you may get honked at otherwise.
#13 Collisions Due to Braking
Usually, the bike riders follow the same directions and rules as the rest of the traffic does. Thus, whenever a bike halts due to a red light, there is a chance that a car may hit you from the rear.
These collisions are called rear-end collisions and you should be careful when braking your bike to prevent them.
#14 Blind Areas
The bicycles have a smaller size as compared to cars. These bicycles are easy to miss on turns and blind spots.
Many drivers and other riders are not careful enough to pay close attention to these blind spots and put the rider in danger of a crash.
To prevent this from happening, you should always make yourself visible while riding your bike so that any incoming vehicle can see you, and be careful about the direction you are riding in.
#15 Pedestrian Collisions
Many pedestrians are not careful enough to cross the road only when the pedestrian sign is on. Moving on the road otherwise with oncoming traffic is highly dangerous for them as well as the drivers and riders.
Usually, when a pedestrian comes into the middle of the road while a bicyclist is riding, the rider has to suddenly change direction to avoid crashing into them.
This in turn may lead to a loss of control over the bike and they may crash somewhere else and injure themselves.
#16 Navigating Traffic With No Experience
While learning biking is exciting and new, you should be careful about when and where you ride it with the traffic.
Navigating traffic with little to no experience can lead to bike crashes simply because the rider doesn’t know how to manage the bike in high-traffic situations.
#17 Riding a Bike With Mechanical Failure
Oftentimes, road bike crashes occur due to riding a bike with mechanical failure.
For example, if you have a bike that doesn’t have functional brakes or there are issues with the drivetrain system, then it would be harder for you to have control over it.
If you continue to ride a bike with mechanical failure, you would not be able to brake or accelerate at the right time and that may lead you to crash into a car or any other vehicle or obstacle.
#18 Riding On an Improper Bike Path
It is harder to navigate your bike if the bike path is not properly maintained or has obstacles laden all over it. These bike paths need to be properly maintained for you to ride safely on them.
Riding on an ill-maintained or obstacle-laden pathway is risky for you and could potentially result in an unfortunate bike crash.
#19 Riding In Extreme Hot Weather
When you ride your bike in extremely hot weather, you are more prone to crashing because of dehydration, hyponatremia, excessive sweating, muscle cramping, and low blood pressure.
These medical conditions cause you to have low energy and you are not able to focus properly on the road. This may lead you to crash into any other vehicle quite easily.
#20 Competitive Riding
Many bike riders engage in competitive bike riding. While healthy competition once in a while in a properly decided pathway with low-traffic areas doesn’t hurt anyone, when you are not careful about it, it can potentially result in crashes.
Competitive riding on a road with high traffic is dangerous for you because you will obviously be speeding on a risky road that has high-end vehicles coursing wildly through them.
If you want to partake in competitive riding, you should always be careful enough to decide on a pathway that doesn’t have any traffic or obstacles.
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How to Avoid Bicycle Crashes?
While we have discussed all the reasons for bike crashes, as a bike rider it is also important for you to know some ways you can prevent these from happening. Here are some tips that can help you practice safe biking:
#1 Inspect Your Braking System
Before you start riding on the road, you should always double-check that the braking system of your bike is working fine.
You should ensure that the brake pads are rightly running against the disc rotor on your bike wheels. If you find some issues to be present, you should correct them before you go out on the road.
#2 Hold Your Handlebar Firmly
While sometimes you do look cool when you ride your bike without holding your handlebar, you should absolutely refrain from doing that when you are riding on a public road.
There are too many variables that can lead to an accident and to avoid such situations you will have to make quick decisions. That may become difficult if you don’t hold the handlebar firmly enough.
#3 Don’t Ride Too Fast
As discussed earlier, speeding is one of the most common causes of bike accidents and you should avoid it whenever possible.
Unnecessary speeding is dangerous for you and you should always ride at a speed that is comfortable for you and appropriate according to the traffic conditions.
The Final Verdict
Knowing the reasons for bike crashes can effectively help you avoid them while biking. Most bike accidents occur due to irresponsible behavior of the rider or an automobile driver.
Thus, you need to be extra careful and focused whenever you are riding your bike on a traffic-ridden public road.
In this article, I discussed the main and common causes of bicycle crashes as well as aligned some ways you can prevent them. Now the next time you are riding your bike on a road, make sure that you take all the preventative measures and practice safe biking!