It is easy to get distracted by the demands of daily life, which can cause you to have difficulty focusing on tasks in front of you. This is particularly true in light of the coronavirus pandemic, with most of us facing major concerns regarding our health, finances, and the safety of those we love. Unfortunately, this can be extremely dangerous for bicyclists. Distracted driving is a leading cause of bicycle accidents. Know the risks and the ways you can protect yourself.
The Problems Posed by Distracted Driving
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving is responsible for roughly nine deaths and more than 1,000 injuries each day in the United States. In addition to being one of the leading causes of car crashes, it is a common contributing factor in bicycle accidents as well. The CDC identifies three common types of distractions:
- Visual distractions, which cause you to take your eyes off the road;
- Manual distractions, which cause you to take your hands off the wheel;
- Cognitive distractions, which take your mind off the important task of driving.
Talking on cellphones and texting are some of the most dangerous distractions, as they involve all three of the above. However, engaging in any activity, such as listening to music, eating and drinking, or even turning your head to talk to someone increases the risks.
Motorists who are distracted are more likely to endanger bicyclists by running red lights, swerving into bike lanes, and not stopping at crosswalks. Being distracted while riding your bike is also dangerous. It makes you less likely to be aware of important traffic cues, such as horns honking, and may cause you to drift out of your lane, to skid on uneven road surfaces, or to crash into pedestrians, car doors, and other objects.
Staying Focused on the Road
Riding a bike carries many of the same responsibilities as operating a motor vehicle. However, when bicycle accidents happen, injuries suffered by cyclists tend to be more severe. The American Trauma Society hosts National Trauma Month each May, focusing on dangerous behaviors that increase the risks of injuries requiring hospital emergency room care. For 2020, the focus is on distracted driving. As a bicyclist, it is important to stay focused and follow these tips:
- Pay attention to the condition of your bike. Maintenance issues make bike accidents more likely to happen.
- Pay attention to safety. This includes wearing a helmet, long pants, and the appropriate shoes.
- Focus on riding. Avoid headphones, voice to text, or any activity that takes your mind off of riding.
- Focus on traffic. Pick safe routes to ride and pay attention to traffic conditions. Be alert for sudden moves on the part of drivers which could put you at risk.
Let Us Help You Today
At Johnston Law Firm P.C., we help you get the compensation you need to recover when bicycle accidents happen. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland bicycle accident attorneys online today.