Tips for avoiding Bicycle Sideswipe Accidents

Attorney Ben Schwartz gives his tips for avoiding bicycle sideswipe accidents.

Tips for avoiding Bicycle Sideswipe Accidents

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

This is our fifth video in a series of videos on car versus bicycle accidents, resulting in personal injury cases. You might have noticed if you have watched the last four videos that there is sort of a theme, and the theme is, how to avoid these type of accidents so you do not have to come see an attorney for your personal injury cases. I would much rather have people watch these videos and avoid getting in accidents and never get to meet them in the office than I would like to see them get in accidents and have to meet us to try and get them compensation to get their medical bills and lost wages paid.

This last video in the series is on the topic of sideswipe accidents. We see a lot of cases where people are riding a bike, they are cruising down the road, they are right on the shoulder and a car is coming in the same direction and comes over onto the shoulder and hits them and knocks them into a ditch, a telephone poll, into another vehicle, or just knocks them down. These types of sideswipe accidents can be very severe, or they can be catastrophic.

What I want to talk about is what can you do to avoid this very common type of accident. If you are a motorist, I think that you need to think about your own situational awareness. If you are driving a car, you are responsible not just for yourself, but for the entire car and where it is. I see people all the time who drive their car down the road, they drive in the middle of the road, over the center line, they drive half in their lane and half on the shoulder. It is not intentional, they just do not realize they are doing it. They are just not aware of the concept of situational awareness.

The next time you are out driving, adjust your side view mirrors so that instead of looking back to see what is behind you, adjust them temporarily to focus down. Tilt them back so when you look into the mirrors on both the passenger and driver side of your car, you can see what is on the ground next to the car and go out and drive. I bet that a significant portion of the people watching this video, if you actually do this, you will see that you are across the line. You are across the painted line that separates your lane from the shoulder, or you are across the yellow line that separates your lane from the lane next to it.

The reason I say this is because I think that people do not realize where their car is. If you are driving down the road, and you are regularly on the shoulder, you may see a cyclist. You may not think you are not going to hit the cyclist, but you are going to hit the cyclist. If you are diving, you need to develop this sense of situational awareness. You can use your mirrors to figure this out but you want to make sure you are squarely within your lane at all times. If you are a cyclist, same thing, situational awareness. It is not enough to know what is going on ahead of you. If you are riding a bike, you have no protection around you whatsoever. You need to know what is in front of you, what is to the left to you, what is to the right of you, and what is behind you. When I rode a bike, I had the ability, because the seat was so high, and the bars were so low, I had the ability to look back under my arm and see what was coming up behind me. I tried to be sure at all times if cars were coming up to pass me, that I was on the shoulder in case I needed to bail over to the right to avoid a sideswipe accident by one of these drivers.

This is my tip on how to avoid these types of sideswiped accidents. This is something that I hope you will discuss with each other and share this information with your family and friends. I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz and I hope you have enjoyed this series on bicycle versus car accidents. If you have a comment or question, please send me an email below. Thanks for watching!

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?
How to avoid common bicycle vs. car accidents
3 Tips to avoid Bicycle Accidents in Intersections

Tips for avoiding Bicycle Sideswipe Accidents

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