Common crash types
COMMON BICYCLE-CAR CRASH TYPES
Common Collisions caused by Motorist
Overtaking Right-hook: Motorist passes and turns right in front of cyclist.
Smart Cycling Solution: Ride father left and cars will wait to turn. Move to left side of the lane before intersections with high right-turning traffic volume and before lane splits into straight and right-turn lanes. Wear highly visible clothing or vest.
Drive-out: Motorist pulls out from side street into cyclist’s path.
Smart Cycling Solution: Ride farther left and cars are more likely to see you. Stay off of shoulders and undesignated areas to the right of the edge-line, especially where there are a lot of driveways and cross-streets. Wear highly visible clothing or vest.
Left-cross: Motorist turns left into, or front of, cyclist.
Smart Cycling Solution: Ride farther left as cars are focused on the oncoming traffic lane, and a leftward position indicates higher speed. Keep pedaling – coasting seems to indicate you are yielding. Be prepared to execute an emergency quick turn (technique from Confident City Cycling). Wear highly visible clothing or vest.
Uncommon Collisions Caused by Gross Negligence
Rear-end: Motorist runs into the back of a cyclist. This is a rare type of collision and usually involves darkness, lack of proper bike lights and alcohol.
Smart Cycling Solution : Wear highly visible clothing or vest and use lights and reflective gear at night.
Common Collisions Caused by Cyclist Error
(Some of these collisions are legally the fault of the motorist, but can be avoided by smart cycling practices.)
Dooring: Driver opens the door of a parked car into the cyclist. Typically, the bike handlebar is hit by the car door, turning the front wheel of the bike to the right and sending the cyclist flying to the left - where the cyclist is vulnerable to being run over by overtaking traffic (can be deadly).
Smart Cycling Solution: Stay at least 4 feet from parked cars - no matter where the bike lane is.
Pothole Plunge: Cyclist crashes after being unable to avoid surface hazard due to overtaking motorists.
Smart Cycling Solution: Ride farther left as most hazards are on the right edge of the road. “Taking the lane” gives cyclists more room to avoid hazards without having to merge or worry about overtaking motorists.
Passing-on-the-Right-hook:Cyclist passes slow-moving car on the right and car turns right into cyclist. (This is a common bike lane crash.)
Smart Cycling Solution: Don’t pass slower/stopped traffic on the right. Use extreme caution if you need to pass a line of traffic – don’t expect motorists to use turn signals or to look before turning in front of or merging into a bike lane. Merge left into the motor vehicle lane if you are moving the same speed as traffic. Merge left into the motor vehicle lane before intersections – this allows you to safely pass to the left of right-turning cars.
(similar) Right-hook from Stop-light: Cyclist is stopped to the right of traffic. When light turns green, cyclist goes straight and first motorist turns right into cyclist. This crash type often results from cyclists not recognizing limitations of bike lanes and can be deadly.
Smart Cycling Solution: This is completely avoidable. Don’t pull up next to stopped traffic. Bike lanes stop before intersections for a reason - to encourage right-turning motorists to merge right and straight-through cyclists to merge left (unfortunately, most motorists and cyclists don’t know this). Merge into the line of traffic and cross the intersection in the motor vehicle lane.
Left-cross in the Blind Spot: A left-turning motorist sees a gap behind that car and turns, hitting cyclist. Can be caused by 1) Cyclist riding to the right and behind a car going straight or 2) Cyclist passing stopped traffic is hit by motorist turning through a gap. (Bike lanes can contribute to this kind of crash.)
Smart Cycling Solution: Be aware that moving or stopped cars to your left obscure your visibility to traffic in the oncoming lane. Ride in the line of traffic if it is moving close to your speed. When following a large vehicle through an intersection, move far left so left-turning motorists see you. If you choose to pass a line of stopped traffic on the right, drive slowly and carefully, stop at gaps in the traffic to your left and expect crossing conflicts.
Crosswalk/Sidewalk Slam: Car turns into cyclist riding in crosswalk or across a driveway on the sidewalk.
Smart Cycling Solution: Don’t ride on the sidewalk (it’s illegal in the state of Georgia for adult cyclists to ride on the sidewalk) and avoid sidepaths. Bicycles on sidewalks are less visible to turning cars due to objects obstructing their view of the sidewalk, from parked cars to landscaping and signs. Motorists are focused on the travel lanes and are not expecting vehicles (bicycles are vehicles) going 10-15 miles per hour on the sidewalk.
Common Collisions Caused by Illegal Cycling Behavior:
Wrong-way Wallop: Cyclist riding the wrong way gets hit by crossing or turning motorist.
Smart Cycling Solution: Ride with the flow of traffic.
Ninja Knock-out: Any of the common crashes involving a cyclist without lights at night.
Smart Cycling Solution: You are required by law to have a white headlight and rear reflector (a red tail light is recommended as well) on your bike when operating in the dark. Make sure you are visible.
Scofflaw Smack-down: Cyclist runs a stop sign or red light and gets hit.
Smart Cycling Solution: Follow the rules. Traffic control devices are for ALL vehicles, including bicycles.
Adapted by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (www.atlantabike.org) from “How to Not Get Hit by Cars, the Florida Bicycle Association, and www.cyclistview.com.