Ask any motorcyclist what one of their greatest worries is on the road, and most will tell you time and time again that it is vehicles from the opposite direction turning left in front of them. In fact, a huge portion of accidents on surface streets involve cars misjudging a left turn. Therefore, would it not make sense that left-turning cars pose the greatest threat to cyclists, as well?

For bicyclists, one of the greatest threats to them while riding on the road is quite the opposite of what you would expect. Cars traveling the same direction but turning right in front of a cyclist cause many devastating accidents each year. While you cannot prevent every accident from happening, riding smart can go a long way in keeping yourself safe. Below are some of our tips for avoiding conflict with right-turning cars.

Sarasota Cyclist Safety: When Riding Right Does Not Mean Riding Correctly

If you are an avid biker, you know that the safest side of the road for you to bike on is the right side of the road. On long stretches of open road with few side streets, riding along the right shoulder can often be one of the safest places for a bike to be. In towns and cities, however, your riding style should adjust a bit.

Many cyclists, especially ones not used to biking in congested areas, feel that riding as far right as possible—or even on the sidewalk—is the safest place for them to be. Maybe they feel the “out of sight, out of mind” mantra will keep them from being a nuisance to motorists, but this has proven to put bikers at even greater risk.

When you ride off to the far right, traffic moving faster than you glides past without conflict. When traffic begins to slow, however, you are put in the precarious position of passing cars on their right. If a car turns right and you are on its right side in the road or on a sidewalk, you are very likely to collide with the car. To prevent this type of conflict, follow these rules to the letter:

  • Do not pass cars on the right. Predictability is the name of the game when it comes to safety, and cars will not see you if you are on their right side. Pass on the left when it is safe to do so.
  • Never ride on the sidewalk. Again, predictability comes into play. Cars from all directions will clear the roadway before making a turn, but are not conditioned to look for traffic on the sidewalk.
  • Do not be afraid to ride in the lane. If you are riding on narrow city streets that do not allow cars to pass you at a safe distance, the safest place for you to ride is in the traffic lane where you achieve peak visibility. Just remember to follow all lights and signage as though you were a car.
  • Always know your surroundings. When you are riding, do not obstruct your hearing with headphones. You will need all of your senses—especially around intersections. Know what is coming before you reach intersections and stoplights.

No matter how much caution you use, one driver’s negligence can undo all of your proactive safety measures. If you have been hurt while riding your bike, our attorneys can help you get compensation for your injuries. Reach out to us today by clicking on our live chat link, and connect with a member of our team instantly!


Damian Mallard, Esq.
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Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney