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Stay alert to avoid 3 common car-bicycle crashes

As an avid cyclist, you have probably had a few close calls with motorists. You might be worried that the law of averages will catch up with you at some point, but you can take action to avoid trouble on the road.

Practice your avoidance techniques by being alert to these common accidents waiting to happen:

1. The ill-planned right-hand turn

Drivers often misjudge how fast you are going, even if the speed at which you are riding is close to the flow of traffic. Therefore, a driver may pass you on the left, then make a right turn up ahead, crossing your direction of travel. If you are riding in a busy area where this is likely to happen, ride in the traffic lane. A driver who wants to turn right must stay behind you and wait to make the turn.

2. A potentially devastating left turn

A common issue, and one that is potentially catastrophic, is when a driver coming toward you makes a left turn just as you approach. If there is an accident, he or she will probably say they simply did not see you--which, of course, is no excuse for causing what could be a devastating crash. Be alert to the possibility of an accident and make a right-hand turn so that you are going in the same direction as the car. When traffic clears, you can turn around and resume your original route.

3. The sudden driveway exit

A driver who is pulling out of a parking lot or backing out of a driveway will be busy watching for a gap in oncoming cars, but may not look for a cyclist. Choose another route if you can--one without multiple parking lots or driveways. If that is not possible, you will be safer if you ride in the traffic lane with the flow of traffic.

Serious consequences

If you let your attention wander, you could make a miscalculation or miss the chance to avert disaster. A personal injury attorney who has helped many cyclists will confirm that car-bicycle injuries can be very serious with long-term consequences. Always stay alert when riding and be prepared to take evasive action to avoid an accident.

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