My bicycle is our second car. I love to bicycle in all weather, for all distances, and on all routes. Bicycling has brought so much joy to my life, and I want to share it with anyone who is interested. I will use my soapbox to tell you about the ...
My bicycle is our second car. I love to bicycle in all weather, for all distances, and on all routes. Bicycling has brought so much joy to my life, and I want to share it with anyone who is interested. I will use my soapbox to tell you about the joys, the freedom, the benefits, and, yes, the challenges of bicycling and walking for transportation.
“Obey the law” is the second layer of crash prevention. About half of bike-car collisions are the cyclist’s fault, and half are the motorist’s fault, so by obeying the rules of the road, you can reduce your risk of a car-bike collision by half.
Common causes of bike-car collisions*:
Bicyclist wrong-way riding: 14%
Motorist left-turn in front of cyclist: 13%
Bicyclist left-turn from right side of road: 11%
Motorist right-turn in front of bicyclist: 11%
Bicyclist fails to yield from a driveway: 9%
Bicyclist runs stop sign or signal: 8%
Motorist runs stop sign or signal: 8%
Motorist opens a car door into path of bicyclist: 7%
Motorist fails to yield from driveway: 6%
Bicyclist swerves in front of car: 5%
Motorist didn’t see cyclist: 3%
By implementing the first two layers of crash prevention, Control Your Bike and Obey the Law, you can reduce your risk of a crash by over 90%!
The rules for biking are similar to the rules for driving.
The Five Layers of Crash Prevention developed by the League of American Bicyclists for their Smart Cycling program are:
1. Control your bike. 83% of bike wrecks don’t involve a motor vehicle. Learn the common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
2. Obey the law. In half of car-bike collisions, the cyclist was not obeying a traffic law.
3. Discourage drivers’ mistakes. Just like defensive driving, you can discourage drivers from making common mistakes by choosing where and how to ride. A key concept is learning how to control the lane.
4. Avoid drivers’ mistakes. For those mistakes they make anyway, there are a couple maneuvers you can learn—and practice!—to avoid a collision.
5. Wear a helmet. Practicing the four principles above prevents over 90% of bike wrecks. The helmet can save your life for the few you can’t avoid.
*These statistics were compiled by the League of American Bicyclists. They do not add up to 100% because there is overlap when both the motorist and the cyclist contributed to the collision, and there are causes not included on this list. I have seen a wide variety of statistics presented in many ways. For example, a Toronto study found that bicyclists were at fault in less than 10% of bike-car collisions. Regardless, obeying the law will decrease your risk, though the exact amount is debatable.