Five ways motorists can reduce cycling collisions
As personal injury solicitors who act for claimants in cycle injury claims, we’ve seen our fair share of road traffic collisions.
It would be unfair to lay every single accident at the feet of motorists, but having handled a large number of claims for cycling injuries, we know there are some situations which crop up time and time again.
Cyclists can no longer be considered an exotic species of road user, which reinforces the need to take account of them in your driving habits. The number of cyclists in Bristol doubled between 2001 and 2011 and is no doubt now higher thanks to high-profile campaigns from the likes of Sustrans and Green Capital 2015.
It may seem counter-intuitive for personal injury lawyers to say that we’d rather there were fewer cycling collisions on Britain’s roads – but we don’t actually want our clients or staff to get injured. So, we’ve come up with a selection of tips for motorists that will help minimise the chance of a collision. Further information can also be found in the Highway Code.
By following the tips below, you’ll reduce the risk of a personal injury compensation claim being filed against you by an injured cyclist. Much more importantly though, you’ll be helping to reduce the number of cyclists injured – or more tragically, killed – on Britain’s roads each year.
Be careful at junctions
When joining a roundabout or a main road, look before you pull out into the flow of vehicles. You may see what looks like a gap in the traffic, but it’s easy to miss fellow road users on pushbikes if you don’t specifically look out for them.
Look where you’re turning
If you’re turning onto a side road, be careful that you’re not turning into a cyclist’s path, as this could force them to collide with you or swerve into oncoming traffic. Remember that vehicles stationed behind you may impede your view of bikes.
Control your speed
‘He came out of nowhere’ is a common argument from motorists, but if anyone is travelling too fast, more often than not it will be the driver – their vehicle has an engine after all! Remember that the speed limit is a maximum not a minimum and it may be more appropriate to travel at a slower speed, particularly when visibility is limited or when approaching corners and crossroads.
Consider your braking distance
It’s always a good idea to give yourself enough braking distance when driving, but particularly around cyclists. For example, random obstacles such as potholes and bumps can force a cyclist to swerve or brake sharply, which is likely to cause a collision if you’re following them too closely. You may not always be held liable for this, but that won’t change the injury caused to a fellow road user.
Mind the door
A pet hate of many cyclists is getting ‘doored’ – when a driver or passenger opens a door, causing them to slam into it or swerve abruptly and crash. Be aware of this when someone gets out of the car – especially if your passenger is not a qualified driver, as they may be less aware of vulnerable cyclists.
To speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor in Bristol about a potential cycling accident claim, call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.