How To Avoid Common Bicycle vs. Car Accidents

Attorney Ben Schwartz explains how to avoid common bicycle vs. car accidents.

How To Avoid Common Bicycle vs. Car Accidents

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

This is video número tres in our series of videos on bicycle accident and personal injury cases. Today I am going to talk about how to avoid common bicycle vs. car accidents. Imagine that you are driving your car, you parallel park on the side of the street and traffic is passing you by… You wait until you think the traffic has passed and you go to open your door. You open it all the way, so that you can get out of your car and as you open the door, a bicycle hits the door and the driver goes flying. That is a very common type of cycling related personal injury case. If you are the person to open the door, and you cause the cyclist to run into the car, you should expect that cyclist may have some very significant injuries, because they just got thrown off their bike. They just went from 25 miles per hour to 0 miles per hour and landed in the roadway. You should expect that you are going to go through a process where the cyclist may very well hire an attorney and make a personal injury claim.

What I want to talk about today is how to avoid common bicycle vs. car accidents.

I want everyone to be aware, this is a type of bicycle accident and it is very common. I think most people do not know it exists. I want you to be aware, but I also want you to know how to avoid this type of bicycle accident. If you are the cyclist, as you are riding, you avoid it by taking control of the lane. As a cyclist, you may be riding down the road in traffic with motor vehicles, you have the right to share the road. You have as much right to take the lane as any vehicle driving in that lane, because your bicycle is a vehicle. If you are driving down a line of parallel parked cars, you want to be very careful and look in to the cars, through the back window, to see if you see heads. If you see a head in the driver seat, that is a good indication that there is someone in that car, who might open the door. You want to be looking down the side of the cars for consistency, because if you see the door start your crack open then you know that door may come open in front of you. If you are on guard as a cyclist and have a plan to bail over, to get into the lane and take control of the lane, I think that is fine. If you take control of the lane early, even though you do not perceive a threat or risk, I think that is fine as well.

It is perfectly legal as a cyclist, going the same speed of traffic through town, going 20 or 25 miles per hour through town, to take control of the lane, even though you may find that motorists disagree with it. If you are a motorist, and you are parallel parked on the side of the road, after the last car that is driving in the lane passes, instead of opening the door with your left hand and pushing the door out with your left forearm, what you might want to do is, take your right hand to open the door, turn and physically look back. Do not just rely on the mirror. Physically look back up the road and make sure that there are no bicycles coming. Open your door slowly rather than throwing it open. That simple action, as a motorist, may save the life of a cyclist, and may save you the unending heartache and pain resulting from having to go through a personal injury case as a defendant. It is the right thing to do if you are a motorist, because morally, we all have the obligation to look after one another.

I’m attorney Ben Schwartz and I hope you enjoyed the video. We will have more videos coming after this one, as it relates to bicycle accidents and personal injury. Thanks for watching! If you have questions or comments, please send me an email below.

Please take a moment to watch our other videos in this bicycle accident series:

Why Don’t Cyclists Just Ride On The Sidewalk?
Who pays if a car hits me while riding my bicycle?
3 Tips to avoid Bicycle Accidents in Intersections
Tips for avoiding Bicycle Sideswipe Accidents

How To Avoid Common Bicycle vs. Car Accidents

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