City planners may want to take note that a new study shows cyclists are at greater risk of an accident at nonright-angle turns in intersections. If streets don’t meet directly at a right angle, the cyclist is more likely to be thrown from the bike and suffer devastating injuries. There’s no big surprise that more people are hitting the town with bikes not just in San Diego but around the country because of the health benefits and the perception that in some situations it can be an easier commute. Protections for cyclists, like bike lanes, are becoming an increasingly important issue as more people use their bikes on a regular basis.

Issues of safety are a major reason blocking more people from opting in to cycle, according to the authors of a recent study published in Injury Prevention. Many intersections around the country simply are not equipped to keep cyclists safe. Combine this with the fact that many vehicle drivers are not yet comfortable sharing the road with those on bike, increasing the chances of bicyclist injuries.

Although the study took place in New York, the discoveries have implications nationwide. The vast majority of accidents leading to bicyclist injuries happened at street intersections, study researchers found. At a nonright angle intersection, bicyclist injuries were 37 percent more likely to be severe. When two roads don’t meet at a right angle, drivers have limited ability to see and are therefore less likely to spot a cyclist either next to them or on an adjacent street. With the cyclist assuming that he or she is visible and a driver proceeding as though the biker isn’t there, the chance for a devastating accident increases immediately.

Some of the most common accidents for bicyclists include:

  • Head injuries, including TBIs
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding or organ damage
  • Lacerations, scrapes, and cuts
  • Bruising

Make sure to get medical attention immediately at the scene of a bicycle accident. Notifying the authorities is the best way to protect anyone at the scene.