Oakland, the eighth most populated city in California, is considered by many to have the best weather in the state. While this would seem to provide ideal riding conditions for biking, the city’s lack of bike lanes puts cyclists at high risk for bike accidents.
While there aren’t many fatal bike accidents in Oakland, the city averages over 120 collisions per year. Here are the five biggest risks a cyclists faces while biking in Oakland:
Exiting Driveways: When you’re pulling out of a driveway, you need to make sure there is no traffic headed your way. Many bike accidents happen in Oakland because either the cyclist doesn’t see the on-coming vehicle or the on-coming vehicle doesn’t see the cyclist.
Left Turns: When you are turning left, make sure there isn’t a vehicle passing you on that side. Just like when you’re driving a car, you should shoulder check (or use your mirror if you have one) to make sure your maneuver is a safe one.
Lane Positioning: Oakland roads are busy, causing many people to be impatient. When drivers are in a rush, they’ll try to overtake cyclists more aggressively. Many bike accidents in Oakland happen when a motorist is passing a cyclist too tightly. To avoid this danger, try to stay as far to the edge of your lane as safely possible while also making yourself visible by using reflectors and lights.
Wrong Side of the Road: While it might not always be convenient to ride on the right side of the road, it’s a rule you should follow at all times. Every month in Oakland there are bike accidents caused by the cyclist riding on the wrong side of the road.
Losing Control: Like anybody on the road, you can lose control while cycling. The best way to avoid bike accidents is to not only stay safely in control of your bike, but also pay attention to what’s around you so you can dodge any obstacles that may have otherwise caught you off guard.
There are many ways a bike accident can happen in Oakland. While these are some of the most common factors, there are many other possible scenarios.
It’s your job to understand the dangers and prepare accordingly. By practicing defensive biking and always wearing your safety gear, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding bike accidents while also decreasing your chance of being injured in a collision.