Preventing bicycle accidents in Portland is an ongoing concern. While bicyclists and city officials both bear some responsibility in preventing accidents and injuries, the bulk falls on drivers. General recklessness and dangerous driving behaviors are among the leading causes of bicycle accident injuries. The following details five simple rules for motorists to follow that can prevent these types of crashes from happening.
The Role Motorists Play in Bicycle Accidents
Statistics from the NHTSA indicate that close to 900 people are killed in bicycle accidents each year while hundreds of thousands of others suffer potentially serious injuries. While Portland is known for its large and active cycling community, bicycle accidents are a troubling problem and happen on an all too-frequent basis.
Bicyclists play a role in preventing these crashes by taking safety precautions, obeying traffic laws, making sure their bicycle is well-maintained, and increasing their visibility on the road. City officials also play a role in bike accident prevention and need to work on designing with an eye towards traffic safety, installing additional traffic signals, and creating more bike lanes. However, as the most common cause of bike accidents is the reckless actions of motorists, drivers bear the brunt of the responsibility. Dangerous behaviors that put bicyclists at risk include:
- Speeding and going too fast for conditions;
- Running red lights and stop signs or disregarding crosswalks;
- Tailgating, failing to yield, and other aggressive driving behaviors;
- Driving distracted or under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Steps Motorists Can Take to Prevent Bike Accidents In Portland
In addition to avoiding reckless driving behaviors, there are important steps drivers should take to prevent bicycle accidents. These include:
- Respect the rights of bicyclists to be on the road. Bicyclists have as much right to be on the road as any other motorist and should be given that same respect.
- Appreciate that bicyclists are vulnerable. While they have the same rights as other drivers, drivers should appreciate that bicyclists are more vulnerable to injuries and take extra precautions when encountering them in traffic.
- Check your attitude. Getting angry or frustrated with bicyclists can lead to all sorts of dangerous driving behaviors and significantly increases the odds that an accident will happen.
- Use caution in making turns. Intersections create serious hazards and are one of the most common places for bicycle accidents to occur. Always check for cyclists before making turns.
- Give them lots of space. In traffic, allow at least three feet of distance between you and any cyclists. Allow for extra space when parking and opening car doors as well.
Let Us Help You Today
At the Johnston Law Firm P.C., we help bicyclists injured in crashes or collisions hold those at fault accountable in a claim. To discuss your case and how we can help you, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland bicycle accident attorneys online and request a consultation today.