Collision Type #6: The Left Cross

A car coming towards you makes a left turn right in front of you, or right into you.

How to avoid this collision:

  1. Don’t ride on the sidewalk. When you come off the sidewalk to cross the street, you’re invisible to turning motorists.
  2. Get a headlight. If you’re riding at night, you should absolutely use a front headlight. Plus, it’s required by law.
  3. Wear something bright, even during the day. It may seem silly, but bikes are small and easy to not see, even during the day. Yellow or orange reflective vests really make a big difference. Reflective leg bands are also easy and inexpensive.
  4. Slow down. If you can’t make eye contact with the driver (especially at night), slow down enough so you are able to completely stop.

Collision Type #7: The Rear End

You innocently move a little to the left to go around a parked car or some other obstruction in the road and you get nailed by a car coming up from behind.

How to avoid this collision:

  1. Never move left without checking your mirror or looking behind you first.
  2. Don’t swerve in and out of the parking lane if it contains any parked cars. You might be tempted to ride in the parking lane where there are no parked cars. However, once you reenter into the traffic lane you may encounter a parked car.
  3. Use a handlebar mirror.

Collision Type #8: The Rear End, Part II

A car runs into you from behind. This is what many cyclists fear the most, but it’s not the most common kind of accident.

How to avoid this collision:

  1. Get a rear light. If you’re riding at night, you absolutely should use a flashing red rear light. They are effective and inexpensive.
  2. Choose to ride on wide streets. Ride on streets whose outside lane is so wide that it can easily accommodate a car and a bike side-by-side.
  3. Choose to ride on slower streets. The slower a car is going, the more time the driver has to see you.
  4. Use back streets on weekends
  5. Get a mirror and use it.
  6. If it looks like a car doesn’t see you, hop off your bike and onto the sidewalk.

Don’t hug the curb. This is counter-intuitive, but gives you a little space between you and the curb. This allows you some room to move in case you see a large vehicle in your mirror approaching without moving over far enough to avoid you.