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Cyclist on the ground after a bicycle accident

Reasons Why Bicycle Accidents Occur

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Meanwhile, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the majority of cyclist-related fatalities occur in urban areas. In 2016, 71% of cyclist-related fatalities occurred in urban areas as opposed to rural areas (29%).

Cyclists are particularly vulnerable during collisions because their bodily protection is limited to basic safety gear such as helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads. These are not enough to protect cyclists from cars and other large vehicles.

If you, the cyclist, were involved in a collision with one or more motor vehicles, the collision could lead to severe and life-threatening injuries, including bone fractures, head injuries, and damage to the spinal cord. In worst-case scenarios, bicycle accidents could lead to wrongful death.

You, as the injured party, can hold the negligent party liable for your injuries and other damages. Liability will essentially boil down to negligence. This can work both ways: The motor vehicle driver’s negligence could have caused your injuries, and you could also have caused or contributed to the accident.

Most Common Reasons for Bicycle Accidents

Distracted Driving/riding

It is a well-known fact that using a mobile phone or similar device while driving raises one’s chances of getting into an accident. Just like motor vehicle drivers, cyclists also tend to be inattentive due to gadget use while on their bikes. You can prevent a bicycle crash due to distracted riding by switching off your smartphone and focusing on the road. Stopping at the roadside to take phone calls or read text messages is another great bicycle safety tip to observe.


Speed is another major contributor to many bicycle accidents. To minimize risks, cyclists should avoid speeding recklessly; neither should cyclists attempt to match the speed of nearby motor vehicles.

Consider the following elements when calculating a safe rate for traveling on your bicycle:

  • Nearby motor vehicles
  • The terrain
  • Road and weather conditions

Right Crossing

A right crossing accident can occur due to any of the following scenarios:

  • When a vehicle moves out of an alleyway, driveway, or parking lot and exits to the cyclist’s right. The driver collides with the cyclist when the latter passes the car’s front side
  • When a vehicle pulls out far enough at the last second to block the cyclist’s right of way. This makes it impossible for the cyclist to avoid a collision with the right side of the vehicle.

To keep right crossing accidents from occurring, observe the following safety steps:

  • Install a headlight or flashlight at the front of your bike.
  • Get the driver’s attention by waving, shouting, or making eye contact.
  • Move your bike further out to the left side of the street. This creates more angles of visibility and
  • allows you more room to stop and swerve.

Right Hooking

These are the most common causes of right-hooking accidents:

  • When a car hits a cyclist when the latter is in front of a cross street. The collision was the result of the driver failing to see the cyclist when making a right turn.
  • When a motor vehicle driver goes past a cyclist and blocks the latter’s way while making a right turn. The cyclist collides with the side of the vehicle.

You can avoid this type of accident by moving farther to the lane’s left side. This will cause vehicles to carefully move past you. You will also be able to prevent potential impact when you’re situated further to the left.

Rear-end Collisions

Rear-end collisions occur when a motor vehicle collides with another vehicle in front of it. These types of crashes usually happen due to distracted driving and tailgating. Moreover, rear-end collisions are the most common way for drunk drivers to potentially injure or kill cyclists.

There are a number of ways in which you can avoid rear-end collisions:

  • Make yourself visible to drivers by using headlights, taillights, and reflective equipment. While such gear may not be stylish, they’re definitely life-saving.
  • Pick the safest time and roads to ride on.
  • Do not ride close to the street or road’s edge.

Other Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Aside from the above-mentioned causes, bike-related accidents can also occur due to the following factors:

  • Dooring accidents or “door prize” collisions
  • Junction or lane merging
  • Unfavorable weather conditions
  • Careless cyclists
  • Left cross accidents
  • DUI

Get Just Compensation With the Help of a Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Cyclists often sustain serious physical injuries after an accident, including head injuries, facial contusions, bone fractures, and joint dislocation. Such debilitating injuries will necessitate expensive medical treatment and could impact your ability to earn a living.

An injured cyclist can seek compensation for their injuries and other damages by filing a bicycle accident claim. Similar to motor vehicle accident lawsuits, bicycle accident lawsuits are governed by state and local traffic laws.

On the other hand, it’s inadvisable to pursue your claims on your own, as you’ll have to deal with the at-fault party’s insurance claims adjuster and defense lawyers. These parties will stop at nothing to dilute your claim or discredit it completely. To safeguard your claim and ensure a proper resolution, it’s best to seek the help of an experienced bicycle accident attorney.

Los Angeles-based Mesriani Law Group has handled numerous personal injury cases throughout its 20-year history. Our personal injury lawyers have successfully defended many clients in California, winning them millions of dollars in damages.

About the Author
Picture of Rodney Mesriani
Rodney Mesriani

Rodney Mesriani is the principal partner of the Los Angeles and Santa Monica based Mesriani Law Group. He specializes in personal injury and employment law while also being an accomplished litigator and trial attorney. Rodney is an aggressive negotiator and a well-known and respected attorney in the areas of practice he specializes in.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from California State University Northridge before attending Southwestern School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate. While being an accomplished personal injury and employment lawyer, Rodney Mesriani has made it a point to attend numerous State Sponsored MCLE events and seminars over the years as a law practitioner to be informed of the latest laws and litigation strategies.



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