Car accidents are one of the main threats to bicyclists when it comes to traumatic brain injuries. The severity of these injuries can take a great deal of time to distinguish and diagnose. In order to protect yourself on the road, it is essential to understand the risks posed to bicyclists.
Understanding National Reports
The National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior (NHTSA) reported their findings on the most common causes of bicycle injuries. Though the report shows fewer overall accidents are occurring now than in previous years, there are many serious hazards to bicyclists.
Cars represent the primary hazard to bicyclist injuries
Cars represent the most common cause of bicyclist accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that 3,330 cyclists were killed in vehicle accidents between 2008 and 2012. Of those deaths, 74% were the result of a car striking the bicyclist head-on. A bicyclist is more likely to be injured by a moving vehicle than any other hazard. Unfortunately, many of these injuries can involve head trauma given the speed and size of motor vehicles compared to a bike.
Here are three strategies that can reduce your likelihood of a traumatic brain injury from a car accident:
- Wear helmets, protective clothing, reflective clothing, and include lights and reflectors on your bike. According to studies by the League of American Bicyclists and the IIHS, most severe bicycle collisions are caused by drivers moving in the same direction as cyclists and by cars rear-ending cyclists. Making yourself as visible as possible can go a long way to protect you from distracted drivers.
- Use proper directional hand signals while turning or crossing over opposing lanes of traffic. A bicyclist is exceedingly likely to receive an injury from opposing lanes of traffic, typically during a turn. It is best to assume that a car cannot see you when you’re turning and to take necessary precautions with this in mind.
- Be aware of street hazards, debris and changing gradients. In low-light conditions, your headlight or headlamp can do much to improve your visibility. Lights will also alert other drivers of your location and presence on the road.