Too many bicycle riders and motor vehicle drivers let distractions take their attention off of the road ahead. Looking away from the road for even a couple seconds could easily lead to a bad accident — especially in the congested streets of Los Angeles.

Here are a few common reasons why people physically look away from the road without even realizing their doing it.

Directions

Long gone are the days of memorizing directions, printing out them out on mapquest or carrying a physical map around. Today, most people use a navigation app on their smartphone or a GPS device for directions.

Using a GPS while driving a vehicle or riding a bicycle is not illegal, but it can still be dangerous. Since bicyclists cannot mount a GPS device to a windshield or otherwise view the navigation directions quickly or easily, it’s highly recommended that riders memorize directions and pull over if they need to check their GPS.

Accidents

When drivers or riders see an accident on the road, they have a tendency to slow down and look at the accident. Sometimes this is done so fervently that the rider cranes his or her neck to continue looking at the accident as they pass by. This is called “rubbernecking.”

Rubbernecking is a form of distracted driving. It’s not at all uncommon for those checking out an accident to soon find themselves in one.

Social Media

Using a smartphone to engage in social media or text while driving is against the law in California. However, it is not against the law for bicyclists. In one study, 98 percent of motorists admitted to using their cellphones while behind the wheel, despite knowing the dangers of it.

For cyclists, taking this risk is even more dangerous due to the environmental hazards that could arise, such as potholes in the road or opening car doors.

Music selection

Neither drivers nor riders may legally use earbuds while on the road. However, playing music aloud has long been a staple of a good ride.

Listening to music can be a distraction itself. But, if you choose to listen to music, keep the volume low and remember that searching for the right song or changing the music selection can take more time away from the road than you may realize.

Car Doors

Bicyclists should be aware of opening car doors while driving near cars parked on the side of the road. In Los Angeles, this should be a constant concern, as the streets are usually lined with parked vehicles. However, there is a balancing act to this.

If you keep your attention too closely on car doors, you may miss a pedestrian, a car or another unexpected hazard ahead.

Get help when you’re hurt

Most people who engage in these distractions don’t even realize they’re doing it. If you are hurt by a driver who was not watching the road, don’t hesitate to take action as soon as possible.

An attorney focussed on the rights of cyclists can help you seek damages to cover the cost of medical bills and other damages in an accident.