Cycling is a wonderful way to get about. It’s cheap, healthy, reduces traffic congestion and can often be faster than driving. The only problem is you have less protection in a crash than someone in a car.
If crashes were rare, you might not worry so much about limited protection. Yet, sadly drivers run into cyclists far too often, causing severe injury or death to the person on the bike. Those inside the car are typically unscathed due to the steel cage that envelops them.
Does that mean people should avoid cycling?
Not at all. It means planning authorities need to do more to protect cyclists, and drivers need to take more care around cyclists.
Here are some typical reasons drivers injure cyclists:
- They open their door without looking: Some countries teach learner drivers to open their doors with their opposite hand, i.e., the hand furthest away from the door. Doing so forces those inside the car to look backward, giving them a better chance to check if the door could hit a cyclist.
- They pull out without checking their mirrors: The fact that cars have three mirrors shows how important knowing what is going on behind you and to the side of you is. Yet many drivers fail to use them sufficiently. No vehicle should maneuver before checking it is safe to do so. Indicating alone is not enough.
- They look straight through cyclists: This is unlikely to be an issue for any driver that also cycles. Yet, drivers who never cycle might not notice someone on a bicycle because all they expect to see is other cars. It is known as inattentional blindness.
- They dislike cyclists: Some drivers hate cyclists and act aggressively toward them.
If a driver knocks you from your bicycle, getting legal help to work out what they did wrong can help you get the compensation you will almost certainly need.