Riding a bicycle is a great way to stay in shape, reduce transportation costs, and maintain a low carbon footprint. Unfortunately, though, it’s also a comparatively dangerous way to get around, especially in cities that don’t have designated bike lanes.
It’s best to be prepared, and riders shouldn’t just assume accidents are something that only happens to other people. Instead, riders should read on to find out what all bicyclists need to know about road bike accidents.
Injuries to Bicyclists Are Often Severe
The first thing any cyclist should do after a bicycle accident is head to the hospital. It should come as no surprise that accidents involving both cars and bikes tend to cause worse injuries to cyclists given that, unlike car drivers, they have no protection.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), bicycle-related injuries went up by 1% last year, resulting in nearly half a million emergency room visits. The most common injuries sustained by bicyclists during car crashes include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Facial injuries
- Back injuries
- Bodily trauma
Many bike injuries require extensive medical treatment and physical rehabilitation. Some lead to life-long disabilities or even deaths.
Car Drivers Often Cause Bicycle Crashes
Car drivers are supposed to share the road with bicycle riders in places where there are no designated bike lanes. Unfortunately, not all drivers pay adequate attention to what’s going on around them on the road, which can lead to bicycle accidents.
While getting into a collision with a car doesn’t always mean the vehicle driver was to blame, cyclists can use a variety of factors to prove liability. Driver negligence can be used as proof of fault if the person was:
- Driving while distracted
- Failing to leave enough of a buffer
- Performing unsafe lane changes
- Turning without looking
- Weaving through traffic
- Running stop signs or red lights
- Failing to yield
- Driving while impaired
If a driver is not following all traffic rules and exercising appropriate care behind the wheel and it causes an accident with a bicyclist, the driver is always at least partially responsible. Other responsible parties can include pedestrians, bicycle or parts manufacturers, and bicyclists.
Bicyclists Can Also Do Their Part to Prevent Accidents
While bicyclists can’t control the actions of the many car drivers sharing the roads, that doesn’t mean there are no steps riders can take to help keep themselves safe. Riding a bike that’s properly sized, checking the brakes before each ride, and using headlights all the time can help to prevent unnecessary accidents and alert drivers to a bicyclist’s presence on the road.
Wearing a helmet, keeping both hands on the bars, and riding at reasonable speeds given the current traffic and weather conditions can all help to both reduce the risk of accidents and keep the consequences of unavoidable accidents more manageable. It’s also important not to ride with headphones on, as doing so can make listening for vehicles and paying attention to traffic more difficult. Given that many drivers don’t pay attention to bicycles on the road, it’s twice as important for bicyclists to know what’s going on around them.
Hiring a Lawyer Can Help Bicyclists Get Fair Compensation
The last thing bicyclists should know about getting into accidents is that, if the car driver was to blame, it may be possible to get compensation for damages with the help of a local law firm. Injured bicyclists should never accept insurance settlements before speaking with a lawyer, so schedule a consultation as soon after an accident as possible.