Bicycle Accidents and Injuries are Often Caused by Careless Drivers
According to the NHSTA, in many of the cases, the bicyclist is not the person at fault. In 2011, the NHTSA reported that of 677 deaths and 48,000 in bicycle-related accidents in most cases, the motor vehicle operators were to blame.
Bicycle accident happen due to the following reasons most commonly:
- Negligence of the drivers on the road.
- Drivers driving under the influence.
- Drivers not stopping at stop signs.
In many instances, drivers park and open their doors into a rider lawfully using the road or bike lane. Usually this is because they do so without looking in their rear view mirrors. Another not-uncommon incident is the infamous “Florida Stop.” This takes place when a car slows but does not stop at a stop sign.
Other cases include drivers making sharp turns into the path of an oncoming bike obscured by the sun. Some drivers brush or sideswipe riders off the road. In some instances, these cars run into another vehicle or person on foot.
Bicycle Accident Caused by DUI Drivers
There are also cases where drivers are DUI or driving while under the influence of drugs. People in these conditions can often drive impulsively – pulling out backward and forwards, from driveways and alleys too fast, without looking both directions and putting the bicyclists and others in danger.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Given the lack of protection, bicycle related injuries can be very serious and even deadly. Below are some of the most common bicycle related injuries.
- Brain and head injuries: including severe head trauma, and permanent brain injury.
- Lacerations to the scalp and face leading to damaged teeth.
- Facial Fractures
- Broken Limbs, legs, arms, hands,
- Severing of the limbs
- spinal cord injuries, leading to quadriplegia or paraplegia
- serious abrasions often referred to as “road rash”
Bicycle Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration releases data about bicycle crashes each year. For 2014, which is the latest year for which information is available, the NHTSA reported the following:
- 726 Americans were killed in bicycle accidents during 2014.
- The average age of bicyclists who were killed in motor vehicle collisions was 45.
- Florida had the highest number of fatalities during the year at 139.
- Seventy-one percent of those who were killed were in urban areas, and 88 percent of them were males.
- Nineteen percent of those who were killed had blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08 or higher, and 35 percent of the fatal bicycle accidents involved a motorist or a cyclist with BACs at 0.08 percent or higher.
- Twenty percent of the fatal bicycle accidents happened between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.
- Bicycle collisions with cars accounted for one-third of all reported bicycle accident injuries.
Steps After a Bicycle Accident
Riding your bicycle is a safe, healthy and cherished way of life, but we have a long way to go to create a truly bicycle-friendly community.
- Ride with a cell phone, personal identification, emergency contact, and something to write with.
- Call the police or an ambulance immediately. If you are unable to do so, ask someone to help.
- Always wait for the police to arrive and file an official accident report. A police report provides documentation detailing the incident, including the identity of witnesses.
- Leave your bike in the same state it was after the accident, if possible. Take pictures of the bike and the scene of the accident, if possible.
- Obtain the contact information of any witnesses.
- Immediately seek medical attention.
- Never negotiate with the driver of the vehicle, regardless of who may be at fault. Get the driver’s name and his or her insurance information, along with the names of any passengers.
- Give no written or recorded statements to anyone.
If you have been involved in such injuries and have suffered damage as a result of another person’s negligent action then compensation is your right. Recovery for your damages may be based on compensatory damages such as, medical expenses, home care and nursing expenses, lost wages, as well as mental stress and pain and suffering, anxiety, post traumatic stress, and los of consortium. In some instances due to product defects in car accidents punitive damages may be attributable as well. For more questions regarding compensation for your injuries contact our bicycle accident lawyers.