Fort Collins is a very bicycle-friendly city. Whether you enjoy leisurely biking along the city’s many bike trails or using your bike to commute to the office, you’ve probably noticed how many cyclists are on the streets every day of the week. Unfortunately, this increased volume of cyclists comes with its own challenges, in the form of heightened numbers of accidents involving bicycles every year. What are the main factors that tend to cause these types of accidents?
How common are bicycle-related accidents?
The number of accidents involving bicycles in Fort Collins tends to remain relatively predictable – typically between 150 and 180 a year, according to citywide statistics.
Fortunately, fatal bicycle crashes remain extremely rare, but there are still several crashes involving incapacitating injuries each year. In all, around one third of bicycle accidents result in some form of injury, property damage or both.
What causes these accidents?
The majority of accidents involving a bicycle within city limits occur at intersections. This is due to a number of dangerous scenarios in which motor vehicles enter into a cyclist’s path and fail to see them.
For example, if you are turning right on your bicycle, and there is a car beside you that also wants to turn right, that car will have to enter into the bike lane in order to make their turn. If they don’t adequately look for cyclists in their blind spot before making their turn, they may sideswipe you as they enter the bike lane.
Another common scenario for bicycle accidents is when a cyclist is riding against traffic (which means riding on the left side of the road) and approaches an intersection. In this scenario, any cars that turn onto the street that the cyclist is on may fail to see the cyclist, because they are unaccustomed to looking for oncoming traffic from the direction that they are turning.
Accidents involving a motor vehicle and a bicycle often prove catastrophic for the cyclist. Efforts to make the streets safer for cyclists have been successful, but there is still a high possibility of injury when taking to the street on a bicycle. Stay safe, and keep your eyes peeled for potentially dangerous situations when out riding.