According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), there were 1,275 bicycle accidents throughout the state in 2019. As a result, 30 pedalcyclists were killed, and at least 151 suffered serious injuries.
While bike accidents may be less common than car wrecks, the injury and fatality rate of these kinds of accidents is much higher. For example, injuries were only reported in about 28.5% of Arizona car accidents in 2019. In contrast, more than 97% of bicycle accidents resulted in injuries to bike riders.
As a bicyclist, wearing a helmet is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of injury if you’re in an accident. But even with a helmet, bicyclists don’t have anywhere near the same level of protection as drivers. This means that the key to reducing bike injuries is preventing accidents in the first place. Learn more about the most common causes of bike accidents in Arizona from the personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys.
#1: Failure to Yield Right of Way
According to aggregate data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the leading cause of fatal bike accidents in the state of Arizona is failure to yield the right of way. Between 2014 and 2018, failure to yield the right of way was a contributing factor to at least 27.3% of accidents that resulted in a bicyclist’s death.
Not yielding the right of way may be the fault of a driver or a cyclist, but it is an action most commonly associated with motorists—in particular, drivers making a right or left turn often fail to yield to a bicyclist who is continuing straight. This is also a common cause of many pedestrian accidents.
#2: Failure to Obey Traffic Signals
Failure to obey traffic signs and signals is the second most common contributing factor to deadly bike crashes in Arizona. This includes many traffic violations that directly cause accidents, such as driving over the posted speed limit, running a red light, failing to stop at a stop sign, disregarding signs related to construction zones or work zones, merging incorrectly, or driving in designated bike lanes.
#3: Riding on the Wrong Side of the Road
Contrary to popular belief, motorists are not always liable for bike versus car accidents. Just like cars, motorcycles, and other drivers, bicyclists are required to follow all applicable traffic laws. In Arizona, this also means riding with (not against) the flow of traffic.
Many pedestrians often walk against the flow of traffic so that they have a better view of oncoming cars. Some bicyclists mistakenly believe this practice protects them, too. In reality, not only is it illegal for bicyclists to ride against traffic, it’s also actually much more dangerous for you and other people riding their bikes.
Bike lanes are much narrower than traffic lanes, and the risk of colliding with another bicyclist or having to swerve into traffic to avoid them is much higher. In addition, riding with the flow of traffic ensures that you can clearly see traffic lights and road signs up ahead.
#4: Improperly Crossing Intersections
Intersections are some of the most dangerous places to be for bicyclists, with almost 55% of bike accident injuries occurring in or near an intersection. When a cyclist is riding their bike on the road or on the shoulder, they are subject to the same rules as other motorists. To ride correctly through an intersection, bicyclists should use the right-most lane available for the direction they are heading in. They should also make sure to ride in a through lane when going straight—under no circumstances should you continue straight while on the right of a turning vehicle.
In some cities and municipalities in Arizona, cyclists may be allowed to ride their bikes on sidewalks. In this case, bicyclists should walk their bike through intersections in a marked crosswalk and obey pedestrian traffic signals.
#5: Inattentive or Impaired Driving
Bicyclists are particularly at risk of being hit by a car when drivers engage in behaviors like distracted driving or driving under the influence. As a smaller and less visible vehicle, cyclists are much more likely to be seriously injured or killed by a motorist who isn’t paying attention or who isn’t sober. The same can be said of bike riders themselves—riding your bike while texting, talking on the phone, or listening to music can easily lead to an accident. Not to mention, your hand-eye coordination can suffer greatly when you’ve been drinking alcohol or consuming other mind-altering substances. Motorists and cyclists alike may be held legally responsible for accidents resulting from these types of illegal behaviors.
Why Bicycle Accident Causes Matter
Understanding the common causes of bike accidents is crucial after being injured in a crash. As with other types of traffic accidents, establishing the cause of a bicycle collision can bring you one step closer to determining who can be held financially responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Even if you are found to be partially at fault for your bike accident, Arizona’s doctrine of comparative negligence means you can still recover compensation for the portion or percentage of damages for which the other motorist is responsible.
Obtaining a copy of your accident report is an excellent first step towards getting the compensation you deserve after suffering a personal injury. At Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, we can help you claim your FREE police accident report.
Contact an Arizona Bike Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike accident with a car, truck, or even another cyclist, you could be entitled to compensation. With the help of an Arizona bike accident lawyer, you can maximize your settlement while still focusing on what’s most important: rest, recovery, and taking care of your family.
At Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, we offer free, no obligation consultations to help you make an informed decision. And, should you decide to hire us, we don’t charge a penny unless we obtain a recovery on your behalf. That’s our no fee promise. To get in touch with a member of our experienced legal team, call us at one of the numbers below 24/7, connect with a representative via LiveChat, or fill out this convenient form for your free case review.