Norfolk Cyclist is Seriously Injured in Wreck on Gosnold Avenue
Cyclists are some of the most vulnerable users of roadways in urban environments such as Norfolk, Newport News and Virginia Beach.
Drivers often fail to notice those on two wheels, be they cyclists or motorcyclists. Some cyclists don’t help their chances by failing to obey the rules of the road and putting themselves in harm’s way.
I was saddened to read about an accident this morning when a cyclist was reported to be seriously injured when he was hit by a car in the Colonial Place neighborhood in Norfolk.
In a press release, Norfolk Police said around 8:30 a.m. a woman driving a car south on Gosnold Avenue near Carolina Avenue struck a cyclist when he entered the roadway from a sidewalk. The driver stayed on the scene, according to the release.
Medics took the man to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment of serious injuries, reported WAVY 10. Police said no charges had been brought as of Monday morning. Investigators closed off the 4100 block of Gosnold Ave and the 600 and 700 blocks of Carolina Avenue while they looked into the cause of the accident.
Drivers should always look out for cyclists and motorcyclists when they are driving on urban or rural roads.
Here are eight top tips for watching out for bicyclists.
1 Give Bicyclists Three Feet of Clearance
More than 20 states including Virginia now have a law that says car and truck drivers should give bicyclists three feet of clearance on the roads. Even in states where that rule is not in place, it makes sense to abide by it for the safety of the cyclist. Rather than slowing down and speeding up when you pass a cyclist, aim to maintain a steady and smooth speed.
2 Be Aware of Bicyclist Vulnerability
A car weighs as much as two tons while the average bike is a mere 20 pounds, according to Tim Blumenthal, president of People for Bikes, an advocacy group.
“In any collision, any physical interaction between car and bike, the bike always loses,” he says. “I’ve never seen a collision where the bike rider came out less injured,” he said.
Drivers don’t always realize the stark differential and the impact the weight difference can have on a cyclist in the event of a crash.
3 – Know Bicyclists’ Rights
Drivers are often woefully unaware of the laws that apply to bicyclists unless they are riders themselves. Some drivers are notoriously intolerant and even think cyclists should use sidewalks, even though this is illegal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says cyclists 10 years and older should behave as though they were vehicles on the street, riding in the same direction as other traffic that’s going their way and following the same rules.
4 – Change Your Attitude
There has been some evidence in Hampton Roads that motorists can think of cyclists as being ”in their way,” In recent years there have been a number of incidents in Virginia Beach in which drivers have demonstrated road rage to cyclists. Experts say drivers who feel like this should aim to picture cyclists as family members.
5 – Consider the Benefits of Bicycling for Drivers
If you consider a cyclist on the road is one less driver and is potentially alleviating congestion and pollution, you may start to think differently about cyclists.
6 – Signal Your Right Turn
Intersections are notorious places for serious car-cycle collisions. If you are making a right turn you should watch out for cyclists. A cyclist may be a little behind and to the right of you, and may be planning to ride straight. If you don’t signal your intention to turn right, you could end up hitting each other. Invariably the cyclist will come off worst.
7 Beware the Left Turn
In most cases of collisions between drivers and riders when the driver has made a left turn he or she said they did not see the cyclist or a driver said he didn’t realize the cyclist was going that fast. Bear in mind cyclists can easily reach speeds of 15 to 20 mph. Although cars making left turns remains a particularly dangerous scenario for motorcyclists, cyclists can also be victims. If you are behind the wheel of a car and are in doubt, you should yield.
8 – Look Before You Exit Your Car:
Cyclists are terrified of terrified of being “doored” which means when they are hit by a car door. Drivers and passengers can be guilty of failing to notice riders. Even if the door fails to hit the cyclist, they may swerve out into traffic to avoid it, putting themselves in danger. Before you open the door, look out the sideview mirror on the driver side and be sure the coast is clear.
Cyclists can be extremely vulnerable in urban environments, particularly on faster moving roads. You should always look out for those on two wheels. If you have been hurt on a bicycle due to the fault of a driver, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077 or see our help for cyclists and pedestrians in Virginia.