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New Haven Personal Injury Law Blog

Motorists see cyclists as pedestrians. They're not. 

One reason for the conflicts between cyclists and motorists is a simple misunderstanding of what cyclists really are. Cyclists, of course, think of themselves as drivers. They get to share the road with other vehicles because they too are using a vehicle. Yes, it's smaller than a compact car and takes body power instead of gasoline, but it's still a vehicle.

Motorists, on the other hand, think of cyclists as pedestrians. They mentally group them in with people walking or running on the sidewalk. Since the cyclist is physically visible in a way that a driver is not, this fit feels natural. That's why you get drivers who say things like "bicycles do not belong on the road."

Mistakes by surgeons happen more often than you might think

People generally have a deep respect for medical professionals. After all, physicians attend almost a decade of higher education to earn their title and the potential ability to legally practice medicine. Surgeons, more so than general practice physicians, tend to command respect by people who cannot imagine operating on another human.

While physicians and surgeons certainly deserve respect for their education and the service they provide, you can never forget that surgeons are fallible humans who can make dire mistakes. Surgical mistakes are frighteningly common, despite the fact that most of them are preventable with proper procedures in the operating room.

Bicyclists have rights under Connecticut laws

Bicycling on city streets is necessary for some people, however, it isn't always a safe prospect. Many drivers assume that they have full rights to the road without the cyclists having any. Those motorists might do things that place the people on bicycles in a dangerous position. The fact is that Connecticut law provides equal road use rights to bicyclists and motorists.

One thing that cyclists and drivers have to remember is that they all have to follow applicable laws. When anyone violates these, bicyclists may face a crash that leads to injuries or death.

What can we do to make cycling safer?

Making the roads safe for cyclists is everyone's job. It's important to carefully consider the number of serious injuries and fatalities springing from cycling accidents every year. Most of these events could easily be avoided. People do not have to suffer from life-changing injuries or lose a loved one. And yet it continues to happen.

Rather than accepting that accidents are inevitable, what can we do to reduce the odds of a crash? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Why do dogs attack cyclists and chase bikes?

Every day, you hit the roads on your bike. It's fun and it keeps you fit. You love it. After years of running, you switched to biking to keep your body healthy — and it's worked.

Unfortunately, you still face a lot of hazards. Drivers cut you off. People open car doors into the bike lane. The city doesn't fill in the potholes. You worry that you will get hurt while you're out for a ride.

Bike lanes aren't perfect. You still face serious risks.

Let's start with this: Bike lanes help. They do keep cyclists safe. Don't write them off. They help to keep bikes that much farther out of traffic, they alert drivers to the fact that they'll be driving near cyclists and they add some structure to a road system that can often feel chaotic otherwise.

That said, they're not perfect. You still face very real risks, which you need to be aware of.

Why do American drivers clash with cyclists?

If you've ever spent time cycling in Europe, you may have felt shocked by the differences in your interactions on the roads. Many riders report feeling like European drivers are kind and courteous when they ride around bikes, whereas American drivers tend to act frustrated and hostile. This attitude could explain why car vs. bike accidents remain so common in the United States, when riders in Europe feel much safer.

But this probably got you thinking: Why do Americans have this different viewpoint? If we could change that, could we make cycling safer on this side of the Atlantic?

Risk-taking drivers undermine the entire point of bike helmets

You wear a bike helmet every single time you get on your bike in New Haven. You know that it helps keep you safe. It protects your skull and brain in the event of a crash. Your parents told you to wear it when you were a child, and you carried that advice with you as you grew up. Now you tell your children the same thing.

Bike helmets do help. You should wear them. So should your kids. Do not doubt that your parents gave you good advice.

Pro teen cyclist dies in tragic accident

Tate Meintjes was living out his own personal dream. At just 19 years old, he was already a professional cyclist, participating in races all over the United States.

Tragically, the teen phenom recently passed away in an accident with a car. He was in California, where he was planning to tackle the Redlands Bicycle Classic. During a pre-ride of the race course, he got cut off by a car. He collided with the vehicle and crews rushed him to the hospital, but he passed away from his injuries.

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