Avoid Michigan Bicycle Accidents With These Safety Tips

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Avoid Michigan Bicycle Accidents With These Safety Tips

Beware of These Common Bike-Car Collisions

Crash reports from local and state police are serving as good enough evidence that Michigan motorists are not really understanding the accident risks they are creating when sharing the road with bicyclists. Nearly 2,000 cyclists were injured on Michigan roads last year and the number of cyclists killed almost doubled at 38 lives lost due to bike accidents involving a motor vehicle. The majority, 24 of these bicyclists, were killed while riding straight ahead just prior to the crash. As the weather will soon be warming and bike lanes will be open, allowing more riders to take to city streets, crashes and injuries seem inevitable.

What Every Driver Should Know About Sharing the Road with Bikes

Bicyclists are far more vulnerable in a crash than drivers and passengers in cars. Until additional protections and laws are set into motion, the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg urges motorists to follow these general, common-sense road safety rules for interacting with bicycles on Michigan roadways.

  • When passing bicyclists, make sure to leave enough room so the bicyclist is not endangered. Start using five feet as a safe clearance range.
  • When approaching an intersection, keep alert and look twice for bicyclists. Be courteous and allow them to clear the intersection safely.
  • It is important to be extra vigilant in left turn lanes. Left turns present a higher risk for crashes because it may be easier for motorists to overlook bicyclists due to their smaller size.
  • It is important to look for bicyclists when backing out of parking spaces. Check your mirrors before beginning the backing out process.
  • In Michigan, a bicycle lane constitutes as a portion of a roadway with pavement markings and signs exclusively for bicyclists. This lane cannot be used by motorists as a driving lane or for parking.

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists via MCL Section 257.657. It is essential to keep the law and these road sharing tips in mind when traveling on a street or highway with cyclists.  

Common Bike-Car Collisions and Tips for Bicyclist to Avoid Them

Over 80 percent of bicycle accident deaths involve adults, a fourfold increase from three decades ago. One thing that has not changed though is the need for bicyclists to stay aware and know how to act quickly if found in a dangerous situation while sharing the road with a motor vehicle. Here is a list of five common bike-car collision scenarios and a few helpful tips for cyclists to stay safe from the legal team at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg.

1) Left Cross: A left cross maneuver accident happens most often and occurs when the driver of a motor vehicle fails to see or acknowledge a cyclist and makes a left turn in front of or into them. This type of accident accounts for almost half of all bike-car crashes, according to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC).

Cyclist Tip: If a car starts to turn into your path, don’t be spooked. Just stay in the lane and ride with the vehicle.

2) Right Hook: This happens when a motorist turns right into the biker’s path. The cyclist is then either hit or cannot avoid hitting the car. This type of accident can happen when a car is turning onto a road, but also into parking lots and driveways.

Cyclist Tip: Take the lane, it’s your right in Michigan. The driver should slow down and stay behind you and wait to make the turn.

3) Door Crash: A cyclist may be traveling next to parked cars lined up on the street or in a parking lot when all of a sudden, a car door is opened by a driver and the cyclist is hit by it.

Cyclist Tip: Stay alert and ride 3-5 feet from parked cars. If you need to stop quickly, keep your weight over your rear wheel and apply strong force to the front brake lever.

4) Parking Lot Crash: This is truly a tricky situation as there are blind spots most often in parking lots. A bike vs. car crash can easily occur when a motorist exits a driveway or parking lot into the path of a bicyclist.

Cyclist Tip: Avoid traveling through parking lots and choose a less-direct route to your destination. Stay alert. If you need to, walk your bike on a sidewalk or parking lot passenger crosswalk until you reach a bike lane.

5) Rear-ended or Overtaken by a Car from Behind: Often most tragic of all crash scenarios happens when a motorist hits a cyclist from behind.

Cyclist Tip: Always make yourself as visible as possible. This means using reflectors and lights on the front and rear of your bike. Always use hand turn signals.

By applying a few preventative skills to your next ride, in addition to always wearing a helmet, there is hope for a reduction in serious injuries and deaths resulting from bike-car collisions.

Bicyclists and Michigan No-Fault Law

Under the Michigan No-Fault Law, bicyclists injured in an accident involving a car or truck are entitled to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, also known as first-party benefits. PIP benefits cover reasonably necessary medical expenses related to the accident, up to three years of lost wages, replacement services (to cover household chores or childcare the victim can no longer complete), attendant care such as in-home nursing, medical mileage, out-of-pocket costs, and vehicle and/or home modifications.

Michigan bike accidents are all too common and everyone must do our part in ensuring the safety of the general public. 

Call an Experience Michigan Bike Accident Attorney

Working with insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation you deserve can be frustrating and confusing. We want to help. Our attorneys at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg have represented bicycle accident victims for over 40 years and are experts on these cases. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car crash involving a bicycle, our Michigan bike accident attorneys will fight to ensure you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve.

Please call Lee Free and our bicycle accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your bicycle accident case.

About the Author:

Eric joined the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C to fight for injury victims throughout Michigan. He has been selected to Super Lawyers and is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40. A graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, he devotes 100% of his practice to representing victims who have been injured by the negligence of others. He is on the Executive Board for the Michigan Association for Justice.

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