What are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
When a vehicle versus bicycle collision occurs, we have to understand the mechanisms of what is going on. A vehicle weighs thousands of pounds, and a bicyclist is considered a vulnerable route way user.
Bicycle accidents typically result in devastating injuries for the bicyclists involved. It is crucial to examine some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents. When drivers and bicyclists understand how these incidents occur, they can take preventative steps on the roadway to ensure that safety is the priority.
How do Bicycle Crashes Occur in Illinois?
When we look at data provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation, we can see that there were 12 bicyclist fatalities in the state of Illinois during the latest reporting year. During that same year, we know that there were 2,353 total bicyclist injuries, 328 of which were considered “catastrophic.”
Bicycle crashes occur for a wide variety of reasons in Illinois, but some of the most common causes include the following:
- Distracted drivers. Distractions have become more and more common on Illinois roadways, particularly as we become more dependent on our electronic devices. When drivers are looking at their phones or other electronics, they are not paying attention to the roadway and will be much less likely to see a bicyclist.
- Failing to yield. Many drivers in Illinois fail to realize that bicycles are typically considered vehicles for the purposes of roadway use. Unfortunately, this means that vehicle drivers tend to fail to yield the right of way to bicyclists even when required to do so. This can lead to devastating crashes.
- Dangerous roadways. Roadway conditions negatively impact bicyclists much more than those inside traditional vehicles. State and municipal governments are responsible for regular inspection and maintenance of the roadways and other bicycle areas. Failing to properly repair any major roadway issues or warn bicyclists of hazards could result in significant crashes.
- Drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol. Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs continue to be a major problem throughout the state of Illinois. In fact, a significant percentage of all traffic fatalities each year are caused by impaired drivers.
- Nighttime riding. Riding at night is certainly more hazardous for bicyclists. It is crucial for any bicyclist who must ride at night to wear bright and reflective clothing and to have proper lights on their bicycle.
- Bicyclist inattention. Bicyclists are not immune from distractions. Anytime a bicyclist is on the roadway, they need to remain vigilant. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more common for bicyclists to ride with headphones in or while looking at their phones.
In Illinois, it is imperative for drivers and bicyclists to form a sort of symbiosis on the roadway. Everybody needs to understand the laws, and they must respect each other’s rights. Vehicle drivers must give bicyclists the space that they deserve on the roadway and yield to them at appropriate times. Bicyclists must obey all traffic laws and wear proper safety gear.
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a bicycle accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you need to work with an attorney as soon as possible. A Chicago bicycle accident lawyer can investigate every aspect of these claims and help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.