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Common bicycle accident types

The drive out
This collision occurs when a driver enters a road from a cross-street or a driveway and fails to yield to a bicyclist. This can be caused by driver inattention, or if the driver misjudges the speed or distance of the cyclist. This can also be caused by a cyclist “coasting” through a stop sign, or if the cyclist is riding in a place where a driver is not expecting (and looking for) oncoming traffic. These types of crashes are most common when cyclists are riding the wrong way (against traffic) or on the sidewalk.

There are a few ways to avoid this crash. First, never ride against traffic, and always obey the rules for traffic on the road. While many cyclists do not stop at stop signs, and many drivers expect that you won’t, you should never assume that a driver is expecting you to ride through a stop sign. Going through a stop sign without stopping may also ruin your chances of proving that an accident was the fault of the other driver. 

The right hook
This collision occurs when a motorist turning right fails to yield to a cyclist traveling parallel to the vehicle. This can occur when a cyclist is riding in a motorist’s blind spot, or if a motorist attempts to pass a bicyclist and misjudges the cyclist’s speed.

To avoid this crash, always use caution when passing a vehicle on the right, and be aware that the driver might pull over or turn to the right at any moment. If you are stopped at a stoplight, you should either pull up directly behind the car in the center of the lane, or in-between the first and second car, so that you can be adequately seen by both drivers. 

Motorist right on red
This collision occurs when a motorist turns right, into the path of a cyclist traveling on a cross-street. It is most common when the cyclist is riding against traffic or on the sidewalk because a driver is not anticipating a vehicle coming from the right.

To avoid this crash, never ever ride against traffic, and only ride on the sidewalk if you absolutely have to. 


Motorist left turn into oncoming bicyclist
This collision occurs when a motorist fails to yield to an oncoming cyclist while turning left. Because drivers are used to looking for oncoming cars in the middle of the road, they often fail to see bikes, which are much smaller and harder to spot. 

To avoid this crash, you should keep an eye out for any oncoming cars waiting to turn left, and never assume that a driver can see you. Try to make eye contact with the driver. When riding at night, make sure you have a bright headlight to alert oncoming traffic of your presence as well as a taillight for those vehicles behind you.


This collision is a common accident where cars are parallel-parked to the street. Keep your eyes open, and check the interiors of parked vehicles for someone about to exit. If there is someone there, be ready to stop, and look for a space to swerve out of the way. Watch for brake lights that are lit up, showing that they've just pulled up. At night, watch out for car interior lights going on or off.

Joseph M. Ghabour
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Auto, Bus, Pedestrian, Motorcycle accident, medical malpractice and worker's compensation attorney.

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