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What Are the Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?

Accident car crash with bicycle on road

In 2019, there were over 1,000 preventable deaths and over 30,000 preventable nonfatal injuries from bicycle transportation in the United States, according to recent data from the National Safety Council. While biking can be a great way to stay in shape and get around town, it is not without its risks. Let’s take a look at common causes of bicycle accidents.

Driver Fails to Recognize Cyclist’s Right of Way

This usually involves a driver failing to yield to a cyclist at an intersection. Do not assume that drivers will respect your right of way.


This happens when a driver fails to give the cyclist adequate space to operate and hits him with his car. Even if you’re biking in the center of a bike lane, don’t assume every driver will respect this boundary. Many drivers aren’t paying adequate attention. Since this often happens at night, be sure to have reflectors and lights on your bike. Avoid narrow streets if possible.


This happens when a person opens the door of a vehicle and a cyclist collides with the door. Be careful opening doors on streets where a cyclist may be approaching. If you open a driver-side door with your right hand, it forces you to look back, which can help avoid accidents. If you’re biking on a city street, keep in mind that a car door may open unexpectedly. Look to see which cars are occupied, and be mindful of cars traveling around you in case you have to swerve.

Driveway Surprise

Either a bicycle emerges from a driveway in front of a car, or vice-versa. Always look both ways when emerging from a driveway, and be aware that some other drivers and cyclists will fail to do this.

Cyclist Fails to Recognize Driver’s Right of Way

This usually involves a cyclist failing to yield to a driver at an intersection. Do not assume that cyclists will respect your right of way.

Wrong Way Cyclist

When you’re biking, always ride with the flow of traffic. Riding the opposite way greatly increases the likelihood of an accident.

Unexpected Left Turn by Cyclist

When taking a left turn on a bike, you must not only look for cars coming from ahead. You must also check for cars behind you that may hit you if you turn left. Mirrors are helpful for avoiding this kind of collision. And signal your turn.

Sidewalk Surprise

Sometimes a cyclist will swiftly ride into the street from a sidewalk without adequately checking for cars. Even if you do this at a crosswalk, a sudden dart into a street is not safe. Always look both ways, and avoid biking on sidewalks. It’s better to use the street.

Other Causes

While crashes with cars cause most serious bicycle accidents, there are other causes too. They include falls, poor roadways, and collisions with stationary objects.

Are you looking for a bicycle accident attorney? Call Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC today to learn more. We provide assistance with personal injury cases just like yours. Set up a consultation with an attorney who cares.

  • In 2022, a year in which New Jersey courts were basically closed for trials, our firm still settled almost 100 cases for in excess of 8 million dollars.
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