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Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in New Haven

March 18, 2024Articles

Each year Connecticut sees many deaths and hundreds of hospitalizations due to bicycle accidents—particularly accidents between motor vehicles and pedestrians. Bicycling is a health-conscious, eco-friendly option for transportation, fitness, and fun, but a vulnerable cyclist is at a significant disadvantage in a collision with an average 4,000-pound metal vehicle. Injuries and fatalities in these accidents are almost exclusively on the part of the cyclist. Sadly, the motorist is more commonly at fault for accidents with devastating consequences to the bicycle rider. What are the most common causes of accidents between cyclists and motorists in New Haven and throughout Connecticut?

Distracted Driving is a Significant Cause of New Haven Bicycle Accidents


Since the rise in dependency on smartphones for everything from making calls and texting to selecting music and using GPS navigation, distracted driving accidents have exploded in numbers, including distracted drivers who collide with bicycles in traffic. Nearly 850 cyclists were killed nationwide in 2019 due to impacts by distracted drivers and many more were injured, including in New Haven. Distracted drivers do not remain vigilant to the presence of cyclists sharing the roadway and the result is sometimes a devastating accident.

Speeding and Aggressive Driving

Drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws, including the speed limit. Speeding and aggressive driving place others at risk, including bicyclists. Exceeding the speed limit increases response time and stopping time after applying the brakes, making it more difficult to avoid a collision with a bicycle.

Failing to Allow Adequate Space to a Bicyclist

When following behind a bicyclist, a driver must allow plenty of space between the front of their vehicle and the back of the bicycle so they have adequate distance to avoid a collision. When a driver fails to allow ample stopping space or passes too close to a cyclist, they could cause a collision or sideswipe accident with serious or tragic results to the cyclist.

Left Turn Bicycle Accidents in New Haven

Left-turn accidents are among the most common causes of injuries to bicyclists and pedestrians in traffic. When a driver making a left turn in an intersection focuses on traffic coming from the right, they may fail to notice a cyclist approaching the intersection on their left.

Car Door Accidents

When a driver parks on the street, they sometimes open the door to exit the vehicle without checking for approaching cyclists. A bicycle rider who collides with a car door may fly over the door and make direct contact with the road or other vehicles, resulting in serious injuries.

Failure to Yield the Right of Way

Some drivers do not recognize that they have a duty to safely share the roadway with cyclists. If a driver fails to allow a cyclist the right of way in traffic, they can cause an accident. Like motorists, cyclists must follow all traffic laws but they’re also entitled to the same rights and considerations in traffic as motorists.

Intoxicated Drivers Cause Bicycle Accidents in New Haven

Drunk driving is an egregious violation of the law that places others at risk in traffic, including cyclists. Impaired driving is a leading cause of deadly driver/bicycle collisions in Connecticut and elsewhere.

Other Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Connecticut

Drivers are commonly at fault in bicycle accidents, but sometimes other individuals and entities cause bicycle accidents including negligent road maintenance agencies or the manufacturer of a defective car part. It often takes an experienced bicycle accident attorney to investigate the cause of a bicycle accident and provide evidence of the negligent party’s liability for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If a cyclist dies from a bicycle accident injury, a Connecticut wrongful death claim can bring compensation to close family members.