I know the average person feels being on a sidewalk is one of the safest places to ride. There are plenty of advantages of riding on a side walk or protected bike lane. However, surprisingly, we represent many people that are hit by cars while using a sidewalk/ bike path. More importantly, virtually every accident happens in the same manner and is mostly avoidable.
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This is what normally happens; the cyclist is riding on the bike path parallel to and against traffic. As the cyclist approaches an intersection, he/she observes a car from their left attempting to make a right hand turn. The cyclists usually have a green arrow or the right of way. It is the obligation of the car to yield to traffic from both directions prior to taking a right hand turn. However, the driver of the car normally only looks to the left prior to pulling out. Hence, just as the cyclist is crossing the road (in the cross walk) the car pulls in front of him/her. It is important for all cyclists to realize that the normal way a car will look is to the left when making a right hand turn, the driver does not expect traffic from their right. Accordingly, even though you may have the right of way, you are on a 20lb bike and the driver is in a 2500 lb. car. So always ASSUME the car will not look right prior to taking the turn and act accordingly.
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