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Avoid bike-car collisions

Ride Smart

Here's how to avoid the five most common bike-car collisions.

By Christine Mattheis

LEFT CROSS
A motorist fails to see a cyclist and makes a left turn--it accounts for almost half of all bike-car crashes, according to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC). AVOID IT: If you see a car turning into your path, turn right into the lane with the vehicle."Don't creep into the intersection at red lights to get a head start," says Laura Sandt, program specialist for the PBIC.

RIGHT HOOK
A motorist passes a cyclist on the left and turns right into the bike's path. AVOID IT: Passing stopped or slow-moving cars on the right places you in a driver's blind spot. Take the lane-it's your right in all 50 states. "If you're in the lane, the driver will slow down and stay behind you and wait to make the turn," says Preston Tyree, who runs the Community Mobility Institute, in Austin, Texas.

DOORED
A cyclist traveling next to parked cars lined up on the street strikes a car door opened by the driver. AVOID IT: "Always be looking several cars ahead," Sandt says. Ride at least 3 feet from parked cars, taking the lane if necessary. Be prepared to stop suddenly. Keep your weight over your rear wheel and apply strong force to the front brake lever, with moderate force to the back.

PARKING LOTTED
A motorist exits a driveway or parking lot into the path of a bicyclist. AVOID IT: No bike-handling tricks can overcome the danger of riding on a road with numerous parking-lot exits. Just take a less-direct route. If you don't change routes, follow the law and ride fully in the road. Most of all: Stay off the sidewalk-motorists aren't looking for you there, Sandt says.

THE OVERTAKING
A motorist hits a cyclist from behind. AVOID IT: "Make yourself as visible as possible and ride predictably," Sandt says. Use reflectors and lights on your bike at night; when moving to the left, signal with your arm; and hold a straight line while checking traffic over your shoulder, because even the most diligent driver could hit a swerving bike. USA Cycling announced today the recipients of its annual Club of the Year awards. Ten USA Cycling-sanctioned clubs received recognition for outstanding programs throughout the 2007 season and will receive complimentary registration fees for the 2008 racing season.


Velo Club La Grange

Velo Club La Grange is one of California's largest and oldest cycling clubs with over 400 members nationwide. The club was founded by Raymond Fouquet in 1969 and fields one of the top amateur racing teams in the United States. Past members include a Tour de France stage winner, an Olympic gold medalist, and numerous U.S. National and California state champions. La Grange is the recipient of the USA Cycling 2007 CLUB OF THE YEAR award.

Along with the Club's dedication to bicycle racing, the club welcomes new and inexperienced riders with a passion for cycling. La Grange is very active in the cycling and fitness communities. Our continuing public policy work with state and local government has led to major improvements in safety for all users of California roads. In addition, the Club has partnered with the Association of Blind Athletes and Meals on Wheels and sponsors an annual scholarship with the help of the Union Bank of California. La Grange enjoys the financial support of several corporations committed to promoting healthy and active living including Kahala Corporation.


501(c)(3) California Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation 95-4000746
United States Cycling Federation Number 1232

 

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