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How can I avoid 'right cross' bicycle accidents?

Pennsylvania bicyclists are frequently injured when they get into "right cross" accidents. These accidents involve motor vehicles that are pulling out from a parking lot, driveway or side street on the bicyclist's right-hand side. Sometimes, a bicyclist will end up slamming into the side of the car in a right cross crash. Other times, the cyclist will be hit on his or her right side by the car. Any kind of bicycle versus car accident is extremely dangerous due to its injury-causing potential; therefore, it is important to limit the chances this common kind of crash will happen.

The first order of defense is to make yourself more visible. Make sure that your bicycle is equipped with a front headlight. While you are at it, buy a red backlight as well. Finally, get a helmet-mounted light. Turning these lights on flashing mode will help you be even more visible.

Make eye contact and do not cross in front of a car until you are sure that the driver has made eye contact with you. Wave your arm to make yourself even more apparent, and use an extra loud bike horn -- specially designed to be heard by car drivers. If the driver is about to hit you, make sure to yell at the driver; getting the motorist's attention in any way you can could save your life.

Always be prepared to stop or slow down. This will help you avoid many kinds of bicycle accidents, including the right cross. Also, riding further out to the left will put you better into the path of the driver's site. Most drivers are keen to look out for cars in the vehicle lane, but they often forget to check for cyclists in the bike lane. Riding out further left will also give you more time to react -- and for the car to react -- if it pulls out.

This advice can certainly help a Pennsylvania resident avoid getting into a right cross bicycle accident, but sometimes, there is nothing a bicyclist can do to avoid a crash. In the event that you or your loved one has been injured in a crash, you may want to investigate the viability of pursuing a personal injury claim for financial restitution relating to your injuries.

Source: bicyclesafe.com, "How to not get hit by cars" accessed Jan. 29, 2015

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