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Shevlin Smith

Crash and Burn: Top 5 Causes of Fairfax Bicycle Accidents

Anyone who has ever ridden a bike on a DC road knows the dangers of mixing cycles with cars. Despite the safety precautions they take, an estimated 800 cyclists will be injured in a Virginia bike crash every year-and without the protection of airbags and a steel frame, that accident is much more likely to prove fatal.

Here are the Top 5 Reasons bicyclists are injured in Fairfax car accidents:

  • Night riding. Roughly half of all annual bicycle deaths occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight. If a biker is riding without bright clothing or reflectors, a driver may not see him until it's too late. 
  • City driving. Due to increased traffic, bicyclists are more likely to be killed on city streets than in rural areas. This risk increases on roads with no crosswalks, sidewalks, or pedestrian bridges over busy highways.
  • Visibility. Drivers may have no trouble seeing a bike from the side, but they are much smaller objects from the back-which is when drivers are likely to encounter them. 
  • Sharing the road. There's no question about it: Virginia roads are designed for cars first, bikes second.Although new bike safety improvements in Virginia are in the works, it is every driver's responsibility to move over for cyclists.
  • Improper attire. Simple clothing items can make the difference between a safe ride and an accident: gloves, rain gear, and sunglasses all improve visibility and response time. If an accident occurs, helmets drastically reduce injury and death rates for DC cyclists.

Here are just a few ways drivers can avoid a DC bike accident:

  • Set an example. Drivers who honk at a bikers and sideswipe them to the curb are not only causing accidents-they're risking the biker's life. When you see a cyclist, give him plenty of room to maneuver, and allow extra braking distance.
  • See the whole road. Since they are in cars themselves, drivers will often look only for headlights and four-wheeled vehicles before braking and turning. A driver's field of vision should begin at the sidewalk for pedestrians, then the roadside for cyclists, then to the road for other vehicles.
  • Minimize distractions. Bikers are often hit by distracted drivers-people looking at their phones, talking to a passenger, or paying attention to the radio rather than the road. Keeping your eyes forward helps avoid all accidents-and may save lives.


As experienced Fairfax bicycle accident attorneys, we know that a biker's injuries are usually far more serious than those of the driver. A bicyclist can suffer weeks or months of medical treatment, physical rehabilitation, loss of income or even permanent disability.

Hitting a cyclist is a crime. We can help you hold a driver accountable.

Call Shevlin Smith today at (703) 591-0067 for more information on your Virginia bicycle injury case.