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Can you change course to avoid a car-bicycle crash?

If you are a cyclist who often rides in traffic, you are no doubt aware of the risks involved. Before you head out, it is a good idea to do a mental review of potentially dangerous situations and have a plan in mind to avoid trouble.

Here are four of the most common car-bicycle accidents to avoid:

1. Car turning left

A driver in an oncoming car executes a left-hand turn directly into your path. Saying he did not see you is no excuse for the driver’s negligence. To avoid a potentially devastating crash, make a right turn so that you are now going in the same direction as the car. When it is safe to do so, turn around and continue on your way.

2. Car turning right

A common accident occurs when a driver passes you, misjudges your speed and makes a right turn just as you approach. To avoid this problem, you can ride in the traffic lane. A car must therefore stay behind you and wait to make the turn.

3. Driver opening door

A driver will open his car door before checking oncoming traffic, and you may not have any choice but to run smack into this obstacle. Be very cautious about riding too close to a line of parked cars. Remember that you can ride in the traffic lane to avoid a close encounter.

4. The rear-end crash

Being hit from behind is a nightmare scenario for any cyclist. You have little chance of avoiding such a collision because you do not see it coming. The best thing you can do is to equip your bicycle with a flashing, red LED taillight. You can also attach a rearview mirror to your handlebars. Consider wearing bright or reflective clothing and always wear your bicycle helmet.

Avoid becoming a statistic

Serious head injuries are the most common cause of disability and death for cyclists, and you do not want to become a statistic. Do everything you can to avoid a car-bicycle crash, including being alert to possible accidents and taking evasive action whenever possible.