For children, a bicycle may be the first real taste of freedom that they ever have. In this way, grade-school and middle-school children can take control of their own transportation if they want to visit the nearby library or go to a friend’s house a few blocks away.
For adults, riding bicycles can be nostalgic and a thrilling form of exercise. Both hobbyists and competitive cyclists often share public roads with motor vehicles. Unfortunately, when cars crash with bicycles, the cyclist almost always suffers the majority of the major consequences.
Even though cyclists assume most of the risk, it is quite common for people in four-wheeled vehicles to actually be at fault when cyclists are injured in a crash. Why do drivers with licenses and years of practice at the wheel cause crashes with cyclists so frequently?
Drivers often fail to notice cyclists and pedestrians
It’s a basic safety rule that drivers, pedestrians and everyone else on public roads should constantly survey their surroundings. Drivers need to indicate when they intend to turn or stop using the lights on their vehicles. Cyclists also either need to install turn signals or use hand signals to indicate to traffic how they will maneuver.
Unfortunately, their efforts at visual communication often go unheeded. Driving creates too much visual data for the human brain to effectively process. Unless someone intentionally watches for motorcycles, bicycles and people walking, their brain will likely filter that information out as less important than other traffic details. Issues that seem safety-critical will receive priority consideration, which means that smaller objects may not register with a motorist, even when they look directly at them.
Cyclists can keep themselves a bit safer by wearing illuminated gear and putting lights on their bicycles. Following traffic laws and treating drivers like the safety hazard they truly are can also reduce a cyclist’s risk of a severe collision. The people affected by a car striking a bicycle may have a sizable insurance claim to negotiate or a personal injury lawsuit to file if they want to cover all of the costs that a crash tends to generate. As a result, learning more about personal injury law can help those struggling to address the consequences of a recent collision with a motor vehicle.