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What Percent of Bicycle Accidents Involve an Automobile?

September 17, 2021 Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents are often devastating for cyclists, especially if they involve an automobile. Although there has been an overall decline in bicycle accidents in the U.S., a larger percentage of the collisions that do occur are fatal. Approximately 96 percent of fatal bicycle accidents involve an automobile. Here, our bicycle accident attorneys in San Diego discuss why automobiles collide with cyclists, and who is held responsible for these incidents. 

Why Do Automobiles Collide With Cyclists?

Motor vehicle drivers have a responsibility and a legal obligation to drive safely and prevent accidents. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore the rules and engage in dangerous or careless practices, such as: 

  • Texting and driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Following too close to a bicycle
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Failing to signal
  • Abrupt lane changes
  • Making an unsafe left-hand turn
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Dooring
  • Drowsy or fatigued driving
  • Reckless driving

When a driver’s carelessness or reckless behavior causes a collision with a cyclist, the driver can be held civilly responsible in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. 

Are Bicyclists Ever Responsible for an Accident?

Bicyclists are required to follow most of the same traffic laws as motor vehicles, which means bicyclists can also be attributed fault for an accident. Under California’s pure comparative fault system, each party involved in the accident can still recover compensation, even if both are partially responsible. However, their amount of payment will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a jury finds a bicyclist is 20 percent at fault for an accident and a driver is 80 percent, the bicyclist will recover 80 percent of their total compensation. 

How to avoid a bicycle accidentHow to Avoid a Bicycle Accident

Bicyclists can reduce their risk of an accident with an automobile by following these few tips:

  • Check your equipment before your ride, including working brakes, and wear a helmet. 
  • Know your signals and use them. 
  • Obey all traffic laws and signs.
  • Wear bright and reflective clothing to make yourself more visible. 
  • Stay on the far right-hand side of the road except when making a left turn.
  • If possible, plan a route that steers clear of heavy traffic.
  • Always pay attention to your surroundings and be predictable.

Drivers can also be proactive in preventing accidents with bicyclists by doing the following:

  • Follow traffic laws and regulations, including speed limits.
  • Respect bicyclists as you would other drivers.
  • Pay attention to the road and drive defensively.
  • Only drive while sober and stay off of your phone.
  • Make eye contact with a bicyclist and come to a complete stop before proceeding through an intersection. 
  • Double-check for oncoming cyclists before making a left-hand turn.
  • Maintain at least three feet between you and a bicycle. 
  • Check for cyclists before opening your driver-side door. 

Most Dangerous Cities for Bicyclists

  1. Albuquerque, NM
  2. Tucson, AZ
  3. Las Vegas, NV
  4. Phoenix, AZ
  5. San Jose, CA
  6. Columbus, OH
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. Memphis, TN
  9. Philadelphia, PA
  10. Los Angeles, CA.

Safest Cities for Bicyclists

  1. Oklahoma City, OK
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Dallas, TX
  4. Indianapolis, IN
  5. Fort Worth, TX
  6. Seattle, WA
  7. Detroit, MI
  8. Fresno, CA
  9. San Diego, CA
  10. Portland, OR.