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How do I prevent a bicycle accident?

Bicycle accidents happen all too often on the streets of Rhode Island, but the majority of them can be prevented by bicyclists and operators of motor vehicles. Bicycles have to follow the rules of the road, including stopping at stop signs, yielding the right of way and following traffic signals at intersections.

One of the most common types of bicycle accidents occurs at a controlled intersection. This can be controlled either by a stop sign or a traffic light. What happens is the bicycle has the right of way (green light or no stop sign) and the vehicle doesn't look out for a bicycle, hitting it in the intersection even after coming to a stop.

This type of accident can be prevented by staying on the lookout for bicycles, obeying all traffic signals, coming to full and complete stops, making eye contact with the bicyclist and slowing down when approaching the intersection.

Another common type of bicycle accident occurs when a vehicle makes a left turn in front of or into a bicycle coming from the opposite direction. This is easily avoidable as well. The bicyclist should travel at a speed that allows him or her to come to a stop at the last second while near an intersection. The driver of the vehicle should be on the lookout for bicycles, obey traffic signals and turn at slow speeds.

Bicyclists must travel in the same direction as motor vehicles. Bicyclists should never travel against the flow of traffic. This can cause vehicles to collide with bicycles, or vice versa. If a crash appears imminent, the vehicle should swerve, if possible, to avoid the bicycle. Bicycles can avoid this type of accident by traveling with traffic.

Bicyclists can also get involved in accidents when they make a left turn in front of a vehicle. When doing so, the bicyclist should always check the rear for traffic, signal before turning, take up the entire lane (do not turn from near the shoulder) and never wear headphones (you want to hear sound of vehicles around you).

Being involved in bicycle accidents in Rhode Island is scary. Get the help you need today from an attorney if you need to seek compensation for injuries and other losses due to another motorist's negligence.

Source: Bicycle Accident Prevention, "Bicycle Accident Prevention," accessed Jan. 18, 2017

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