Wednesday, May 19, 2010



By Darin Wieneke

There are many days when I am biking
that I think I might be safer in a boxing ring facing Floyd Mayweather, Jr. or Manny Pacquiao. Biking accident statistics in Minnesota support this sentiment. According to the Star Tribune, officials at St. Paul’s Regions Hospital saw a thirty (30) percent increase in bicycle-motor vehicle crash injuries in 2008 and officials at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale saw fifty (50) victims during the Summer of 2008, as compared to twenty-eight (28) the previous year. Editorial. “Sharing the Road.” Star Tribune, 6 October 2008.

As noted in a previous post, May is Bicycle Safety Month and MTN wants you to be safe this summer! Accordingly, I will be highlighting five of the most common bicycle accidents and how to avoid those accidents this month.

#5 The Right Hook

This type of accident occurs when a car makes a right turn directly in front of you, or right into you. A “right hook” generally occurs soon after a car passes you or when you are attempting to pass a car on the right.

Important ways to avoid this type of accident is to pay very close attention to traffic going
in your direction, and even behind you, as you approach an intersection to make sure no one “hooks” you. Also, do not pass on the right. If a car is going slowly in front of you near an intersection or elsewhere, it will likely start moving faster. If it does not, you can pass the vehicle on the left when it is safe to do so. You should also ride behind a vehicle, and not in the vehicle’s blind spot.

#4 The Left Cross

If a car coming toward you makes a left turn right in front of you, or right into you, you will feel the pain of a “left cross.” Visibility is important in regard to avoiding this type of accident. You should be sure to have a headlight if riding at night and should always wear something bright, even during the day. You should also try to make eye contact with a driver that is turning. If you cannot make eye contact, you should slow down so you can make a complete stop if necessary. While slowing down is inconvenient, it beats a trip to the emergency room.

#3 Red Light of Death

This type of accident occurs when you stop your bike to the right of a car that is already waiting at a red light or stop sign. When the light turns green, they turn right into you. This can occur whether you move forward or not after the light turns. Numerous cyclists have been crushed by semi-trucks that have made a tight right-hand turn.

You can avoid this accident by not stopping in the car’s blind spot. If you stop behind the car, you will be visible to that car and the car behind you.

I hope this information is helpful to you. The “Door Prize” and “Right Cross” will be featured in my next post.