Most Common Bike Accidents and How to Avoid Them

The below are 3 bicycle accidents and tips on how to avoid them. Although each of these accidents is caused by the motor vehicle driver’s negligence, here are some things bicyclists can do to be safer:

Left Cross

If a distracted driver fails to see the cyclist or judges speed incorrectly, the driver can turn into the cyclist in the intersection. This accident can be avoided by the cyclist maintaining a proper lookout. Look for signs that someone is turning in front of you. Also, if you are riding a bike at night, make sure you are wearing reflective clothing and that your bike has sufficient reflectors. Flashing lights are also a great idea- there is nothing wrong with being lit up like a Christmas tree! You may also want to look at the wheels of the car, instead of the car itself, to judge its next move. This will allow you to quickly determine where the vehicle is headed, rather than guessing. Left Cross accidents also occur if the vehicles ahead of the cyclist “screen” the view of the cyclist from the oncoming vehicle turning. One way to avoid the “screen” from occurring would be to ride in your lane in a manner that you are conspicuous to oncoming traffic. Do not ride too closely to those in front of you because you will not be seen. Also, if you ride slightly to the left or right of the lane, you may be more visible to vehicles coming in the other direction.

Right Hook

The Right Hook occurs when the driver of the vehicle fails to see the bicyclist to the right, either in the same lane, or in an adjacent, but separate, bike lane. One way for a cyclist to avoid this accident is to look over your left shoulder before turning right to make sure all adjacent vehicles see you while they are turning. Such accidents can also be avoided by using the proper hand signal for turning right.


Dooring accidents occur when a driver opens his door in front of the bicyclist and the bicyclist cannot stop in time. The bicyclist can be knocked off the bike or into vehicle traffic. These accidents are very common and extremely dangerous. Cyclists can avoid being doored by riding on the left of the lane, using mirrors to check for traffic behind in case you have to swerve, and looking into parked cars to make sure they are empty before speeding by. Motorists can avoid dooring accidents by simply checking in the driver’s-side mirror and over their shoulder before opening car doors.

Contact an Attorney

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact Peter C. Grenier of the Grenier Law Group at 202-768-9600 (main), 202-768-9598 (direct) or [email protected].  

If you have questions, or believe your injuries are serious enough to merit further investigation, contact an attorney. Ideally, you want to contact a law firm that has experience in handling serious bicycle accidents in DC, Maryland and Virginia. There are issues unique to bike injury cases that require specialized knowledge. A lawyer can help guide you through the process of recovering money to pay for your medical bills and pain and suffering.