Can Watching Videos Train Drivers to Be More Careful Around Bicycles?

Can Watching Videos Train Drivers to Be More Careful Around Bicycles? Vancouver, WA has some cool bike trails. Some are paved, and some are more rugged – but all of them offer a chance to (literally) stretch our legs and take in the view. Over the past decade or so, we’ve seen more and more people choosing to cycle around town than take their cars. Unfortunately, the number of people who are killed while riding their bikes has also risen.

The National Safety Council reports that “The number of preventable deaths from bicycle transportation incidents increased 16% in 2020 [from 2019] and have increased 44% in the last 10 years, from 873 in 2011 to 1,260 in 2020.” Non-fatal injuries increased by five percent between 2019 and 2020, as well. So it’s safe to say, we think, that riding a bike – especially on city streets – comes with a risk.

A popular cyclist in the UK is trying to change all that. He goes by “CycleGaz,” and he makes videos of his rides via a helmet cam. Then, he superimposes a picture of a car’s steering wheel (complete with a hand and arm) and a dashboard over the bottom of the video, so it looks like someone is driving a car instead of riding a bike. The goal is to show the dangers that bicycle riders face while they’re sharing the road with cars.

You can check them out here, but we issue these two warnings:

  1. His language is a little salty. Maybe turn the sound off if you want to show your kids.
  2. He’s in the UK, so he’s riding on the opposite side of the road.

It’s pretty extraordinary, though, to see just how little attention drivers pay to the rights of cyclists. Add this to the increased size of vehicles we see on the roads, and perhaps it’s a bit easier to see just why so many bike riders are getting hurt or killed.

We don’t know if just watching the videos will make drivers behave better around bicycles, but we have a good feeling about it. Seeing yourself in the position of the potential “victim” can be powerful. (It’s why some schools and countries use Fatal Vision goggles to help teens understand the effects of alcohol.) A little empathy can go a long way.

Road designs play a role in cyclist safety, too

While driver negligence is a leading cause – perhaps THE leading cause – of bicycle accident-related injuries and deaths, it’s not the only component. The very roads themselves don’t always do much to protect vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. That’s why the United States Department of Transportation is trying to do something about it. The National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) is part of the “Safe Systems Approach” to road safety. Part of that system recognizes that human beings will make mistakes, and that our bodies are not designed to withstand the forces exerted on them in a collision. The goal, then, is “to accommodate certain types and levels of human mistakes, and avoid death and serious injuries when a crash occurs.”

But what does that look like? Vancouver, WA has adopted some pretty impressive safety designs for cyclists, including:

  • Bike boxes, which allow cyclists to cross the street before the cars
  • Protected intersections, which have “refuges” where cyclists can wait if a driver has right-of-way
  • Parking-protected bike lanes, which run between parking spots and sidewalk curbs
  • Bike signals, which give cyclists priority to travel before vehicles in “high-conflict areas”
  • Sharrows, which indicate lanes where both cyclists and drivers may share a road.

Taking steps like these are important, because they can reduce the risk of a deadly crash – not only with cyclists, but between drivers. Think about how often you’ve seen a chain-reaction accident because one driver slams on the brakes to avoid hitting something, and another driver hits that first car. When that initial brake slam happens in heavy traffic, it can be more than two cars that are affected, too. So while changes like this are, first and foremost, designed to help keep cyclists safe, there are added benefits for drivers, too.

Help for injured cyclists in Washington State

Any time a cyclist is involved in a collision, someone needs to call 9-1-1. There’s a very good chance that the person riding the bike may be too injured to make that call, so if you see something, say something. Prompt post-crash care may be the difference between life and death.

If you’re the one who is injured (or if it’s someone you love), Philbrook Law Office can help you. Part of our job as your attorney is to get to the bottom of what happened, and determine who is liable. This can be a more complicated issue than you think, and it’s certainly more complicated than an insurance company will lead you to believe. You deserve a team who will review the event at the scene, work with field experts (like accident reconstructionists and doctors), and analyze both the police report and your medical records to get the full story of what happened, and what life could be like for you in the future.

NOTE: When negligence is really clear cut – as in, “a drunk driver blew a red light and hit you while you were riding in a crosswalk” type of clear cut – that insurance company will probably offer you a settlement pretty fast. Don’t take it without calling us first. Insurance companies are not your friends; they’re way more interested in preserving their profits than paying out on policies. And once you accept the award and sign on the dotted line, there’s no going back for more later if it turns out that your injuries are long-lasting or permanent.

Another thing we do is make sure that you’re getting the help you need. That means talking with you about what types of medical care you need, or childcare assistance. We can help you access resources that can help while your case is ongoing. For example, did you know you could use Personal Injury Protection (PIP) after a bike accident? PIP can pay some of your upfront medical costs or for partial wage replacement. You can even use it to pay for household services that you can’t complete on your own, like hiring someone to walk and feed the dog or for daycare.

And if you don’t have PIP but the driver does, you may be able to use their policy to pay for these things, too. If this is the case, then you DEFINITELY want a lawyer on your side.

Philbrook Law Office is here to help when you’ve been hurt. Our bike injury lawyers in Vancouver and Battle Ground, WA have experience and resources that we will put to work for you. To schedule your free initial consultation, give us a call or fill out our contact form.