According to the CDC, nearly 1,000 bicyclists die on America’s roads each year, and over 130,000 riders are injured. About 20 of those deaths occur in Ohio. When you consider that there are 50 million or so people in the U.S. who cycle on a regular basis, that may seem like a small number, but bicycle accidents tend to have severe, often deadly outcomes.
Common injuries that result from bike accidents
- Head Injuries—This can include anything from minor scrapes and abrasions to catastrophic traumatic brain injuries. Facial and skull fractures, concussions, cranial hemorrhages, broken noses and teeth, and eye damage are also common.
- Road Rash—Road rash may not sound overly serious, but it can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement, particularly if it involves the face. Less serious contusions and lacerations are still painful, and can be prone to infection.
- Trauma to the body—Broken bones, dislocated shoulders, torn tendons and ligaments, whiplash, organ damage and internal bleeding, are all consistent with bike vs. car accidents. Strains and sprains to the knees, ankles, wrists, and other joints often take a long time to heal.
- Neck and back damage—Spinal injuries, up to and including total paralysis, are possible bicycle accident outcomes.
- Death—As stated above, for around 1,000 bike enthusiasts per year, death is the final outcome.
Causes of bicycle accidents
In many ways, the typical causes of bike vs. car accidents are similar to the causes of car vs. car and car vs. pedestrian accidents. Distracted or reckless driving on the part of the driver, rider error, poor road conditions, limited visibility, and poor weather conditions all may play a part. Drivers often say that they failed to see the rider. Riders can also fall victim to animals or people running in front of them, or even collisions with trees, street signs, etc.
Steps to take if you’re involved in a bicycle accident
- Call 9-1-1 immediately if there are injuries or property damage.
- Leave the accident scene untouched for the police to investigate.
- Tell your side of the story to the responding police officer.
- If a car was involved in the accident, under no circumstances negotiate with the driver.
- See medical attention, even if your injuries seem minor.
- Preserve all evidence of the accident.
- Don’t negotiate with the driver’s insurance company.
- Talk to an experienced attorney.
Read a more in-depth explanation of what to do.
Ways to avoid bicycle accidents
- Wear a bike helmet. It’s been estimated that biking with an approved helmet may reduce the risk of head injury by 85%.
- Be prepared before you leave. Don’t leave home without your cell phone and personal identification.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. When you’re riding a bicycle, you’re extremely vulnerable, and not just from cars but from everything around you.
- If bike paths are available, use them. They offer a degree of separation between you and vehicles.
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, contact a lawyer experienced in bicycle personal injury litigation, one with the resources to get you the compensation you may be entitled to.
If you or a family member has been involved in a bicycle accident, contact the attorneys at LaSalvia Law. We will fight to win you the compensation you deserve.