In 2015, there were 45,000 bicycle accidents in the United States. This number was down by 50,000 accidents that occurred the previous year. While there was a decline in the number of bicycle accidents, the number of fatal accidents went up in the same time frame.
In order to help bicyclists protect themselves, here are four things they should know about bicycle accidents.
1. Know How Bicycle Accidents Happen
Bicycle accidents occur in a number of different ways. Motorists who drive while distracted is one of the most common causes of bicycle accidents. When a motorist doesn’t pay attention, they are at a higher risk of hitting a bicyclist. About 30 percent of all bicycle accidents happen this way.
It’s also common for bicyclists to become distracted when they ride their bikes. Distractions usually occur when bicyclists use a hands-free communication device. Another common type of bicycle accident occurs when the bicyclist collides with a fixed object.
Bicycle accidents also occur when motorists and bicyclists don’t understand the rules of the road. Sometimes it’s unknown whether the motorist or bicyclist has the right of way at an intersection. Dangerous road conditions and riding in inclement weather are also common causes of bicycle accidents.
Bicyclists are at the highest risk of an accident when riding in the dark. In fact, over 50 percent of bicycle accidents happen this way.
2. Know the Common Injuries Associated with Bicycle Accidents
The type of injury that a bicyclist sustains usually depends on the type of accident they were involved in. For example, if an accident causes a bicyclist to fall to the ground, they may end up with a broken wrist or fractured bone.
If two bicyclists collide, it could cause one or both riders to sustain a serious neck injury. Other common injuries associated with bicycle accidents include head trauma, spinal cord injury, nerve damage, neurological damage, and ruptured discs. In some cases, the injuries are so severe they result in death.
3. Know How to Prevent Bicycle Accident Injuries
Anytime a rider gets on a bike, they should wear protective gear. One of the most obvious pieces of protective gear is the helmet. To reduce the chances of a head injury, the helmet should be the right size and fit properly. A helmet also helps to lessen the severity of brain injuries.
Some helmets come equipped with a helmet mirror. These mirrors are especially helpful when a bicyclist is unable to turn their head or look over their shoulder for oncoming traffic. Other types of protective gear include clothing with reflective tape, bicycling gloves, and protective eyewear.
To further ensure their safety, bicyclists should install a mirror on the handlebar, as well as a bell or horn. Bicyclists who ride a lot at night should also have a white front headlight and a red rear reflector.
Another way to prevent bicycle accidents and injuries is to understand the rules of the road. For instance, bicyclists should always ride with the flow of traffic. Other rules that bicyclists should always heed include:
- Avoid riding on the sidewalk.
- Use hand signals when making a turn or when stopping.
- Obey all traffic signals and signs.
- Yield to pedestrians.
- Use bicycle lanes if they are available.
Bicyclists should never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Before riding, bicyclists should make sure their tires and brakes are in proper working condition.
4. Know Who to Contact If Injured in a Bicycle Accident
If you were riding your bike and sustained an injury in an accident, contact Cantor Injury Law. If the bicycle accident was not your fault, you should obtain legal representation so that you receive compensation for your injuries.