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How can cyclists stay safe around negligent drivers?

You see a lot of drivers actively engaging in negligent and risky behavior behind the wheel. Many people drive far too fast, for instance, or speed up to run red lights. Some talk on the phone, take pictures or send text messages. Still others just don’t leave proper following distances and drive so aggressively that a crash seems like the inevitable outcome.

As a cyclist, all of this is concerning. If one of these drivers makes a mistake and hits your bike, they are probably not going to be injured at all. You, on the other hand, could have catastrophic injuries. What can you do to stay safe?

Know when to ride

Statistically speaking, some times are simply more dangerous than others. For instance, studies found fatal accident spikes between 6 and 9 p.m. If you can ride earlier in the day, you may help yourself avoid a crash.

Avoid busy roads

Urban streets, which are much busier than rural roads, see about 8 out of 10 fatal crashes. If you live in the city, this may be unavoidable. If you drive to trails or rural areas to ride, though, you can put yourself in a relatively safer position.

Know where to ride

Always ride with traffic. If there’s a bike lane, use it. If there’s not a bike lane, ride near the shoulder. In almost all situations, you should stay off of the sidewalk. It feels safer, but drivers do not expect you to be there and they’re more likely to hit you when they turn.

Wear the right gear

A helmet is your best friend, of course, if you do get hit. Bright clothing can help you avoid that accident in the first place, though, as can clothing with reflective patches. You may also want reflective stickers for your bike and rear and front LED lights. Gear should focus on safety and visibility.

What if you still get hit?

Unfortunately, with so many negligent drivers around, accidents are still going to happen. If you get injured, then you need to know how to seek compensation.


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