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What Are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?

Bicycle safety is important year round, but cyclists and drivers should exercise caution in the summer months of July, August and September, when accidents are most common.

Unfortunately, California consistently has one of the highest bicyclist fatality rates in the country. In 2011, the state recorded the second-highest number of cyclist fatalities for any state with 114 deaths.

To avoid a serious crash, both cyclists and drivers must follow the law and be aware of their surroundings. According to California Highway Patrol, below are some of the most frequent causes of bicycle accidents:

  • Bicycle rider using the wrong side of road
  • Auto driver making unsafe left or right turn
  • Bicyclist riding from driveway or sidewalk into path of car
  • Auto driver opening door as bicycle passes
  • Bicycle rider weaving, leaving edge of road or bike lane
  • Bicyclist making unsafe left turn
  • Bicycle without headlight or reflectors
  • Bicyclist and/or driver impaired by alcohol

For bicyclists, the best way to prevent injury is to wear a bike helmet every time you ride. Head trauma is the most common type of injury suffered in a bicycle accident. Studies show that helmets are 85 percent effective in reducing traumatic brain injuries. Under California law, they are required for bicyclists under the age of 18.