Why Do Bicycle Accidents Happen?
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 840 cyclists were killed in accidents in 2016. Many drivers do not respect the legal rights of cyclists on the road, and this lack of respect causes many accidents. Motor vehicle drivers are often reckless, and texting or speeding demonstrates a blatant disregard for sharing the road with cyclists. Serious, even fatal accidents may occur if cyclists and those around them are not careful.
The main reasons for cyclists accidents include:
- Going too fast
- Not using crosswalks
- Not following the rules of the road
- Poor weather conditions
- Poor visibility
- Not enough space between cyclists and drivers
Alcohol or drug use may severely impair the motor skills of drivers and cyclists, leading to catastrophic accidents. As a matter of fact, it has been proven that approximately 35% of all bicycle accidents that end in death are due to drug and alcohol use.
Most Common Injuries from a Bike Accident Include:
- Broken bones
- Becoming paralyzed
- Rashes from the road
- Traumatic brain injury
- Open wounds
- Neck or spinal injuries
Whether your injuries are minor or major, it is important to seek medical care right away. The spike of adrenaline one experiences following an accident may mask the full effects of the injury. Treatment for accidents can become extremely costly, so it is crucial that you take any and all precautions to keep yourself safe on the road!
Here are some precautions you should take to ensure your safety:
- Make sure your head is protected -Wear a helmet at all times when sharing the road with drivers.
- Communicate with others – Use safety signals, such as communicating to drivers when you are making a right or left turn by using hand signals.
- Check your vision and visibility – Make sure your mirrors are intact and you have headlights if you are riding at night.
- Know the road regulations – Ride with traffic unless you are trying to avoid a hazard, making a left turn, or passing someone.
- Pay attention at all times – Do not let anything distract you. Make sure to avoid going on your phone or listening to music while riding.
I Just Got in an Accident, What Do I Do Now?
- Check for injuries – Even if you don’t feel any pain at the moment, it is important to check for cuts. If small cuts are left unchecked, they might get infected and lead to serious health problems.
- Call 911 – If the accident is serious, call 911 right away to get the necessary medical attention. Have the police create a detailed report of the incident.
- Record the Details of the Accident – Get all the information you can about the driver and the accident. It is important to get their name and insurance information, and it is as equally as important to write down any details you can about the accident before you forget exactly what happened.
- Don’t Say Too Much – Don’t apologize to the driver because you then admit it is your fault. Make sure to give all the details you can to law enforcement.
Other people that might also be liable for the accident include:
- Owners of other vehicles
- Other bike riders
- Other drivers
If you or a loved one were cycling and suffered an injury due to another person’s recklessness or inattention, you may be entitled to a great deal of financial compensation. Damages that the at-fault party may be liable for include medical bills, physical/emotional stress, and property damage.
How Long Do I Have to Submit My Claim?
Even though most accident claims allow up to two years to file a report, a person involved in a bicycle accident may only have 6 months from the time of the accident if a government agency is involved. It is highly recommended that you employ an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can after the accident. Insurance companies are inherently greedy when it comes to settling disputes, and they will try to minimize your settlement as much as possible. Finding a lawyer that cares for you and will get you the most favorable settlement is paramount. Do not let the insurance adjusters/representatives convince you to accept a settlement without consulting a lawyer.