Bike accidents frequently occur because of a collision with a motor vehicle. These collisions often lead to severe injuries, with hundreds of people losing their lives each year in an incident of this type. Bicyclists need to understand the common causes of bike accidents, so they can take preventive measures to avoid a collision. Furthermore, government entities must understand the same causes to implement road safety precautions.
In most cases, the individual operating the motor vehicle bears responsibility for the accident. The victim retains the right to pursue a claim against the motorist’s insurance company to cover their resulting medical bills and other expenses related to the collision. An attorney becomes of great help when a victim takes this step. What are some common causes of cycling accidents today? How can a biker take preventative measures to avoid an accident, and what injuries are commonly seen in bicycle accidents?
Common Injuries Seen in Bicycle Accidents
Severe injuries remain a concern in any accident involving a bicyclist. The head and chest remain at significant risk of injury in a bike accident. Riders should always wear a helmet and protective gear to reduce the risk of injury. The face and eyes may sustain an injury, and broken bones remain common in this type of incident. In addition, people often sustain road rash and injuries to the soft tissues of the body when they are involved in a bike accident.
Twenty percent of fatalities caused by a distracted driver involve a person outside of a vehicle, including bicyclists, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control. People often assume a distracted driver is using their cell phone. However, anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road qualifies as a distraction. This may be a child, food the driver is consuming, or the radio.
However, riders need to take care when sharing the road with vehicles. A biker shouldn’t use their cell phone or ride with headphones on, as they prevent the bicyclist from hearing vehicles as they approach. They can’t take precautionary measures if they don’t know a hazard is present.
Rate of Speed
Speeding plays a role in countless accidents involving a motor vehicle. As the speed of a vehicle increases, so do the injuries sustained by anyone involved in an accident. Bicyclists remain at great risk of severe injuries because they don’t have anything protecting them from the impact of the vehicle. Driving a vehicle at a high rate of speed also reduces the time a driver has to react to obstacles in the road, bicyclists, pedestrians, and more.
Bikers also need to watch their speed. Injuries increase when a bicyclist is traveling at a fast pace. When biking, individuals must factor in the environment. They need to consider road conditions, the terrain, and weather conditions when deciding how fast they should be going.
A vehicle may collide with a bicyclist when the driver makes an illegal maneuver on the road. They may turn when the light is red, ignoring individuals in a crosswalk, or veer into the bike lane because they are reaching for a mobile device. A driver who runs a red light or stop sign may hit a bicyclist, and the same holds when the driver is weaving in traffic. They may not see the biker in time to avoid a collision because the bicyclist was hidden behind cars on the road and the driver didn’t know they were there.
Bikers need to ensure they don’t make illegal lane changes, as drivers may not see them and cause a collision. Bikers should stay in the bike lane when one is available and stop at red lights and stop signs to make certain the path is clear before proceeding. If a vehicle is traveling at a fast rate, wait until they come to a stop before entering the roadway.
Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs often cause accidents. They may collide with another vehicle or hit a pedestrian or bicyclist. Sadly, there isn’t much a bicyclist can do to prevent this type of accident other than remaining aware of their surroundings and moving out of the way of a car being operated by a driver who appears to be impaired.
As with impaired drivers, it’s hard for a biker to avoid an exhausted driver who shouldn’t be behind the wheel. Driver fatigue leads to the same slow reaction time seen in impaired drivers and poor decisions by the driver. A fatigued driver may even develop tunnel vision, making it hard to see a biker sharing the road. Again, remain aware of your surroundings and take action to move out of the path of any driver who appears to be fatigued or other impaired.
Protecting Yourself While on the Road
Bikers need to remain alert when riding. Always wear a helmet and try to leave three feet between the bike and any vehicles traveling on the road. This helps to reduce the risk of an accident. Never ride when tired or otherwise impaired and avoid the use of handheld devices when operating a bike. Furthermore, leave the headphones at home, as they prevent you from hearing what is going on in your surroundings.
When traveling on a sidewalk or in a parking lot, never assume a vehicle will stop. Always stop and allow the vehicle to pass to avoid an accident. Obey all traffic signs and yield to vehicles. Although this may not be required by law where you are riding, it’s always best to put your safety first. Simple steps go a long way to keeping you safe while you are riding your bike.
If you have been injured in an accident while riding your bike, seek legal advice. The driver needs to be held accountable for their actions, in the hopes they won’t harm another bicyclist or driver in the future. While a biker can handle the lawsuit on their own, it’s best to have someone familiar with the legal system. The attorney works to get the injured biker the compensation they deserve.