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Driver in Bicyclist Crash Set to be Sentenced Almost Two Years Later

Bicycling is a popular method of transportation. However, reports of bicyclists being injured or even killed after being struck by a vehicle are all too common.

Tucson residents may recall a hit-and-run bicycle accident that occurred in spring 2011 in which the driver left the scene and was later arrested when trying to repair the damage to her vehicle. According to Tucson Velo, the driver will be sentenced on April 15, 2013, after months of legal procedures.

Driver hit bicyclist and fled

The Tucson Velo reports that, on May 20, 2011, the 23-year-old biker was traveling north on Swan Road where the bike lane expands to full-lane width. The driver, who did not have insurance, who was driving on a suspended license, and who was also caught by a red-light camera failing to stop for a red light at a nearby intersection, hit the bicyclist from behind at an estimated 45 mph. The driver initially slowed down but then sped away, leaving the bicyclist with severe injuries including a fractured skull and a broken jaw. Witnesses reported that the driver was talking on her cellphone at the time.

Common bicycle-car accidents

Bicyclists are most commonly hit when a vehicle is backing out of an area such as a side street or a driveway. Today’s drivers are often distracted and rush out of these areas without properly checking their surroundings.

Getting a headlight improves visibility to a driver greatly. Additionally, if it is apparent the driver is distracted and does not see the oncoming bicycle, slowing down and waving or gesturing to get the driver’s attention is encouraged. However, sometimes driver just do not pay enough attention.

It also helps to ride slightly to the left, or farther out into the middle of the street. Not only does this ensure the bicyclist is farther away from the vehicle if it does decide to keep pulling out, the driver is likely looking into the middle of the street for other vehicles, which increases the chance of the driver seeing the bicycle.

Another common collision occurs in a similar situation. A vehicle may attempt to make a turn and slam into a bicyclist who is riding through a crosswalk. Drivers making turns often do not expect to see bicyclists and are frequently taken by surprise.

The best thing for a bicyclist to do in this situation is to avoid riding on sidewalks. Riding on a sidewalk heightens the risk of colliding with a turning vehicle, no matter which side of the sidewalk a bicyclist rides on. Riding on sidewalks is also illegal in some locations.

No matter what the situation, a bicyclist should always slow down and wear a headlight to reduce the risk of crash or serious injury. Bicyclists should also avoid busy streets and use distracting items such as headphones or cell phones minimally.

Serious injuries from a bicycle accident cause financial difficulties and severe pain and suffering. A bicyclist injured by a distracted motorist should contact a personal injury attorney with experience in pedestrian accidents. The attorney can help with holding the negligent driver responsible and obtaining all available compensation.