On Saturday, a driver struck and killed a bicyclist near Caltech in Pasadena. Authorities are investigating the accident to determine its cause, though no arrests have been made.
Negligent and distracted drivers cause the majority of accidents between bicycles and cars, and there are many bicycle accidents that bicyclists simply cannot prevent. Even so, bicyclists can also cause accidents by biking on the wrong side of the road, riding directly into the path of a car, weaving out of bike lanes or into the street, making unsafe turns or riding at night without headlights/reflectors. What can you do to reduce the risk of a bicycle accident?
Here are some bicycle safety tips provided by the California Highway Patrol:
- If you are travelling slower than the normal speed of traffic, stay to the right edge of the road unless you need to turn left or pass a vehicle (including parked cars). Never pass a moving vehicle on the left.
- Do not ride in a driver's blind spot. Where necessary, ride further to the left to increase visibility.
- When moving left, look behind you. Consider installing a mirror.
- Ride in bike lanes when available and stay off the sidewalk unless it is designated for bicyclists.
- Use proper hand signals, especially when turning or leaving a lane.
- Do not ride on the freeway unless explicitly allowed (look at freeway ramp signs).
- Do not wear headphones while riding.
- Wear bright clothing, a helmet and other safety equipment.
- If riding at night, use a headlight and reflectors.
- Ride with traffic, not against it. It may seem counterintuitive, but riding against traffic is three times as dangerous.
- Check your bike tires and all parts every few days.
- Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
These are only a few of many safety tips bicyclists should follow. Above all else, remember that car drivers may not be watching out for you. Some of the safest cyclists bike as though they are invisible. By thinking that cars cannot see you, you are less likely to put yourself in the dangerous path of a distracted driver who won't see you.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Bicyclist dies after collision with car near Caltech," Joe Piasecki, Robert Faturechi, June 15, 2013