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Sharing the Road: Top Tips for Drivers, Pedestrians and Cyclists

bicycling injuriesAccident and injury lawyers are all too familiar with the destruction car accidents can cause. Around 3 million people are injured every year in the United States due to car accidents. But all too often, prevention tips don’t take into account the fact that drivers don’t just hit people in other cars. Most drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists could use something of a crash course on sharing the road.

Tips for Drivers

The general guidance here is to be aware of non-car entities. But there are a few spots in particular where you’ll want to watch out.

  1. Be Careful With Right-Hand Turns
    If there is a bike lane to your right, it’s possible a bike could collide with you if you’re turning right and the bike isn’t. Signal well in advance.
  2. Know Average Biking Speeds
    Cyclists can easily achieve speeds of 20 miles per hour on a good bike, so when in doubt, yield.
  3. Watch When Opening Doors
    If you’re parking along the side of a road, make sure you check for bikes before opening your door. The bicycling injuries that can result from being “doored” are often serious or even fatal, since the door can fling the cyclist into traffic.

Tips for Pedestrians:

Pedestrians may not actually be on the road in most cases, but vehicle-pedestrian accidents are more common than you might think; a pedestrian is injured around every seven minutes in the United States. Moreover, these accidents are often devastating for any pedestrians involved, meaning they’re likely to result in personal injury lawsuits. That’s bad both for the pedestrian who has to hire an accident lawyer and for the driver facing a lawsuit.

  1. Walk on the Opposite Side
    If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left-hand side of the road. This means that you’ll be facing oncoming traffic, better allowing you to spot potential problems.
  2. Stop, Look, and Listen Before Crossing
    Especially as hybrid and electric vehicles are becoming more common, it’s surprisingly easy not to notice a car approaching. Remember what you were (or should have been) taught as a child and stop, look, and listen before crossing the street.
  3. Make Yourself Highly Visible
    Especially if you like to walk or run at night, wear a reflective safety vest.

Tips for Cyclists:

Cycling is a great way to get exercise and help the environment, but it also comes with some risks. While only about 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle, cyclists are injured and killed at a far higher rate than the occupants of motor vehicles. There are several things you can do to lessen the likelihood of being in an accident.

  1. Don’t Wear Headphones
    Especially since you don’t have all the mirrors drivers do, you’ll want your ears to help warn you of approaching vehicles.
  2. Be As Predictable as Possible
    The better drivers can predict your movement, the better they’ll be able to avoid you. Stay with the flow of traffic, ride on the right unless making a left-hand turn, and don’t weave in and out of parked cars on the side of the street.
  3. Don’t Cycle While Impaired
    You might have heard a lot about drunk driving, but not about drunk riding — that doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem. About 37% of fatal crashes involve a driver or cyclist who has been drinking.

This should go without saying, but bicycle injury statistics also show that bicycling injuries can be seriously reduced by wearing helmets. If you’ve got any other tips for reducing pedestrian and bicycling injuries, share them below.