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How can motorists and bicyclists prevent bike crashes?

Bicyclists and motorists both need to be very careful to avoid getting into a bicycle crash. One of the best ways to avoid such crashes is to foster an awareness of the most common circumstances that cause them.

Intersections are probably one of the most important areas for motorists and bicyclists to be aware. It is at intersections that do not have any traffic controls, where the majority of bicycle-related crashes happen. In fact, 63 percent of bike crashes happen at intersections, and 57 percent of these crash sites did not have any kind of traffic control devices (like traffic lights or stop signs) installed.

According to statistics, the most common error made by bicyclists leading up to a crash was not taking due care. As for motorists, the most common error leading to a crash was failing to yield to a bicyclist's right of way.

Perhaps one of the reasons why motorists fail to yield to bicyclists is the lack of visibility of bicyclists. Further, because there are so few bikes compared to vehicles, motorists are less apt to be watching out for them or expecting them. A simple fix that can help increase bicyclist visibility is for bicyclists to wear and use reflective gear, wear bright clothing and use a bicycle headlight and rearward red light.

According to multiple studies carried out in North America, bicyclists and motorists are equally likely to be blamed for causing a crash. When it comes to a seriously injurious crash, however, the last thing on an injured cyclist's mind is at fault. The bicyclist merely wants to get better from his or her injuries. That said, fault is a very important issue to consider in any injurious accident because the at-fault party may be liable to pay for the injured party's medical care and other financial damages stemming from the accident.

Source: British Columbia Cycling Coalition., "BikeSense Manual," accessed July 28, 2016

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