Bicycling can be a dangerous hobby. Even if you are a skilled and cautious cyclist, you could easily get hurt if you drive on public roads near motor vehicles.

There are certain things that you can do to reduce how much risk you have out on your bike. Investing in a good helmet and proper riding gear is a smart step. You also want to be a defensive cyclist who is proactively aware of their surroundings.

However, you can’t control the way that other people on the road behave. If you educate yourself about some of the top reasons that people in vehicles cause crashes with bikes, you can possibly help keep yourself a little bit safer. 

The person in the vehicle doesn’t see the person on the bike

Not noticing the other person or object involved in a crash is arguably one of the top contributing factors to all collisions. Drivers have to filter a lot of information, and some of them aren’t even fully paying attention to the road around them as they drive.

Distracted or not, a driver’s brain may not focus on smaller objects that seem to pose less risk to someone in the vehicle. In other words, pedestrians, cyclists and even motorcyclists may not register in the brains of people in vehicles. The best way to protect yourself from this risk is to bike defensively and presume whenever navigating through traffic that other people nearby you may not see you.

The person in the vehicle is under the influence or distracted

Both chemical impairment and distraction factor into a significant number of crashes. Drivers who are drunk may make erratic maneuvers, fail to monitor their surroundings and misjudge traffic conditions. Distracted drivers might turn or merge without looking first, mistakes that could cost someone their life.

The person in the vehicle misinterprets what the person on the bike intends to do

Misinterpretation of someone’s signals is a common issue, particularly at intersections. Carefully following the rules of the road can help make your behavior more predictable. Unfortunately, some drivers may not recognize the hand signals for turns on a bike. Others may not understand that bikes have the same right when moving through traffic as other vehicles do.

Whatever the cause, when someone in a vehicle strikes someone on a bicycle, the cyclist will likely need financial help to recover from the injuries they suffer.