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How To Prevent Common Bicycle Accidents in Seattle

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Though we are in the middle of winter and bike riding is only for the brave and strong, it’s good to be aware of the most dangerous areas to ride. This link shows you where in Seattle cyclists most commonly get into accidents. The interactive map shows you where in the city the accident happened, as well as the type of accident.

Prevention First

Although high-quality safety gear is important, it doesn’t usually prevent accidents from happening. It’s important to be aware of common and uncommon accident risks for bicyclists, so you can ride confidently through the city each time. For a complete guide on every accident scenario you can imagine, and information about how to prevent these from happening, check out How to Not Get Hit By Cars.

We included a few below, for reference.

That Car on the Right

Keep an eye out for cars exiting driveways and businesses on the right. This is especially dangerous because not only can they pull out and hit you, but they can pull out in front of you, leaving you no reaction time whatsoever. Consider riding a little further to the left, in order to ensure that the driver on the right gets you in their line of site sooner rather than later. If riding to the left makes you nervous about being hit from behind, remember that the stats show that you’re more likely to get hit by a car at an intersection ahead of you, because they can’t see you. Cars from behind are more likely to be aware of you. This is just something to consider as you navigate streets with a lot of businesses or highly-trafficked intersections.

Surprise Car Doors

You’re riding down a road with busy street parking (99% of Seattle, right?) minding your own business, and BAM. A car door opens in front of you, and you run right into it… there was no way to avoid it. This seems like it would be an uncommon or mild accident, but it’s actually more prevalent (and lethal) than you may think.

You can reduce your risk by riding a bit more to the left. Remember, moving slightly to the left doesn’t make you any less visible to the cars behind you, but just a few inches could ensure that you’re able to avoid the unexpectedly opened door in your path.

In the Crosswalk

Avoid riding on sidewalks when you can. One study even cited sidewalk-riding as being twice as dangerous as road-riding. So, maybe just don’t do it… you can avoid some serious accidents by sticking to the road.

Wrong Way

Don’t ride the wrong way (against traffic). It’s against the law, but also so much more dangerous. When a car is turning right onto a one-way street, they are not expecting traffic to be coming toward them. And, think of it this way: when cars pass you from behind, heading the same direction as you, they automatically slow down to pass. Cars coming at you can be going full-speed, and possibly even over the speed limit before they see you or hit you. Not good.


As we head into the spring and summer, more Seattleites will be dusting off their bikes to hit the streets, and it’s important to be aware so we can do our part to avoid these incidents altogether. If you’re injured in a bicycling accident, Elsner Law Firm is here to help you. Give us a call – or text us – for a free consultation.

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