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Don’t Hit the Cyclist

Arizona is in the top five states in the US for cyclist fatalities.

Biking used to be more popular with young children who couldn’t drive yet, but over the past decade, cycling has become quite popular as a competitive sport and an eco-friendly form of transportation. In Arizona, there are hundreds of miles of bike trails and lanes throughout our beautiful desert landscape. Unfortunately, Arizona is among the top five states with the most cyclist fatalities in the United States.

It’s very common for motorists to check for other vehicles on the road but forget to check for pedestrians or cyclists. In Arizona, when a motorist hits a cyclist, that cyclist can make a claim against the motorist for medical bills, pain, disfigurement, lost wages and other forms of damage. These claims can build up to a large sum of money.

Here are some tips to help you get into the habit of looking for cyclists and avoiding future accidents:

  • The Dutch Reach: In an article in the Boston Globe last September, a 70-year-old doctor in Cambridge pleaded for drivers to start getting into the habit of doing the Dutch Reach; a habit that the Dutch have been doing for years. The Dutch Reach is opening the car door with your far hand (i.e. if opening the driver’s door in the U.S., use your right hand to do so.) Using your far hand to open car doors forces your body to turn completely and look into ongoing traffic along with spotting cyclists.
  • Put Down Distractions: Most cyclist collisions are due to distracted driving. This includes using the phone, eating/drinking and talking to someone in the vehicle. When behind the wheel, make sure to put all distractions aside and focus on the street in front and to the side of you.
  • Simmer Down: Most people will admit to “hating” cyclists and thinking they are idiots for riding on the road. Stop thinking that! Cyclists have just as much freedom to be on the road as the driver does. Putting aside the hate or anger toward a cyclist can actually help reduce the chances of vehicle accidents than you think. Try it.
  • Turning Right Checks: Turning right seems to be a lot safer than turning left, at least for motorists. For cyclists, cars turning right are a nightmare! Frequently, drivers turning right, tend only to look left for vehicles and forget to look over their right shoulder, because they are in the right-hand lane and know a car isn’t going to be passing, but forget that a bicycle still could. Start getting into the habit of looking in your blind spot because there’s a good chance a cyclist is riding by.

Getting into these four simple habits can help reduce the number of cyclist fatalities in Arizona and get her out of the top five for most cyclist fatalities.

If you are a cyclist who was hit by a car, give us a call; navigating Insurance companies and drivers lawyers can be a nightmare! We can get you the help you need to start healing and recovering.


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