As the world is still learning to share the road with cyclists, riding your bike to work or for fun, especially on busy city streets, can be a dangerous experience, more so than getting in a car to drive each day. However, one of the most common areas for cycling accidents is at intersections. Cars aren’t sure how to treat cyclists, cyclists are unsure how cars are going to react, and as everyone tries to figure out who has the right of way, accidents happen. However, discovering who is at fault is all about knowing who had the right of way.
The key to figuring out who has the right of way at an intersection is to assess the environment. When there are no traffic lights at an intersection and you are merely dealing with stops signs, the vehicle that arrives first will always have the right of way, and yes, this includes bicycles. Unfortunately, it can be a huge contributing factor for accidents since cars don’t see bicycles as vehicles of equal measure on the road.
Unfortunately, crossing an intersection on a bicycle can be even trickier at an intersection with traffic lights. Occasionally, bicycles are not heavy enough to trigger sensor-controlled lights. This can leave them waiting for quite a long time until a car comes up behind them. In these cases, some states are passing laws that state a bicycle can cross on red if it is safe, but in California, it will still be the cyclist’s fault if they cross on red and are hit.