Guest blog post by Personal Injury Help, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice or opinion, and is intended for informational use only. To find out more about them, you can go to or contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As a cyclist, you are aware of the challenges that you can encounter every time that you head out on the road. The best way to avoid crashes is to stay alert and ride defensively at all times. There are several risks that you can encounter out on the road every day, and here are four of the leading crash situations that you can avoid when cycling. By avoiding these situations, you can decrease your chances of being in a crash solo or with motorists.

1: Potholes in the Ground
Most cycling crashes happen without any interaction with a car. Watch for potholes. Some potholes are so serious they can damage cars, let alone a bicycle. Hitting a pothole can lead to a crash that will throw you off your bike and result in serious injuries. Some ways to prepare yourself for potholes are practicing riding over them in a safe environment, and keeping your body loose when you do hit one to absorb the shock and stay upright. Simple upkeep of your bike, like keeping your tires inflated, will go a long way in avoiding incidents with potholes.

2: Loose Gravel and Dirt
Loose gravel and dirt can be risky for a variety of vehicles, including bikes. The loose materials can cause you to loose control or result in the bike skidding out from underneath you. You can end up in a serious crash with extensive injuries if you don't maintain control on loose dirt or gravel. You need to watch for these materials and be ready to slow it down so you don't crash. The best tip for dealing with gravel is staying loose as well. It’s totally natural for your bike to slide a little as you go over gravel, and staying rigid could make your bike fishtail even more.

3: Getting Doored
Don't get doored! This is one of the most common, and most deadly situations for cyclists, as there’s very little time to react, and swerving to avoid a door can get you killed. The only effective way to avoid getting doored is to give parked motorists a wide berth. The average car door is 5’ long, so riding at least 4’ away from a line of parked cars should give you ample room. If someone does begin to open a door, a last-ditch effort can be to yell loudly. Sometimes a jarring scream can stop a motorist from opening a door.

4: Intersections
You are going to have to ride through intersections, but you must stay alert and be attentive. Always be prepared for the worst and assume that the drivers won't see you. Keep your hand on the brake and be ready to get out of the way at a moment's notice. This way, you can decrease the chances of a crash and increase your odds of getting out of the way before one happens if you see any risks or threats. You can also try to make eye contact with motorists in an intersection to help ensure they see you—If they don’t meet your eye and look like they’re about to turn in front of you, it might be a good idea to slow down, or wave to get their attention.

5:Be Alert and Ready
By staying alert and being ready to get out of the way of threats, you can significantly decrease your chances of a crash resulting from these four risks as well as several others. You should always wear your protective gear, which includes a helmet, in case you are involved in a crash. You should also be familiar with the laws of the area where you are riding. Always pretend the drivers don't see you, so you will be ready for anything and you can avoid a crash.