Collision Type #1: The Right Cross

This is one of the most common ways to get hit (or almost get hit). A car is pulling out of a side street, parking lot, or driveway on the right. Notice that there are actually two possible kinds of collisions here: Either you’re in front of the car and the car hits you, or the car pulls out in front of you and you slam into it.

How to avoid this collision:

  1. Get a headlight. If you’re riding at night, you should absolutely use a front headlight. It’s required by law, anyway. Even for daytime riding, a bright white light that has a flashing mode can make you more visible to motorists who might otherwise “right cross” you. Look for the new LED headlights which last ten times as long as old-style lights.
  2. Get a loud horn and USE IT whenever you see a car approaching (or waiting) ahead of you and to the right.
  3. Slow down. If you can’t make eye contact with the driver (especially at night), slow down enough so that you’re able to completely stop if you have to.

Collision Type #2: The Door Prize

A driver opens his door right in front of you. You run right into it because there is not enough time for you to stop.

How to avoid this collision:

Ride to the left. Ride far enough to the left that you won’t run into any door that’s opened unexpectedly. You may be wary about riding so far into the lane that cars can’t pass you easily, but you’re MUCH more likely to get hit by the door of a parked car if you ride too close to it than you are from getting hit from behind by a car whose driver can clearly see you.

Collision Type #3: Red Light Of Death

You stop to the right of a car that’s already waiting at a red light or stop sign. When the light turns green, you move forward, and they turn directly into you because you are in a blind spot and they cannot see you.

How to avoid this collision:

Don’t stop in a driver’s blind spot. Simply stop BEHIND a car, instead of to the right of it. This makes you very visible to traffic on all sides. It’s impossible for the car behind you to avoid seeing you when you’re right in front of it.