As the population continues to grow within cities, bicycle use has increased exponentially in the last decade. There is an expanding movement to refrain from using cars or gas-powered transport and choose bicycles to do activities such as shopping or work. Because of this surge of riders occupying the road, cycling accidents involving vehicles hitting riders are growing at an alarming rate.
Each year, 2% of the fatalities from vehicle crashes are from cyclists, and fatality accidents have risen by 12% since 2015. In 2013, negligent drivers injured over 48,000 riders, and in 2012, vehicles caused 29% of all bicycle accidents. Statistically, most of the accidents lead to a lifetime of medical expenses, and in 2010 both the fatal and non-fatal accidents created a decline in productivity totaling $10 billion.
Bicycle Accidents Are a Growing Concern
In 2018, rider accidents hit a high of 871 cyclists, with 78% of cyclist deaths occurring in urban areas. In 2019, NHSTA stated there were 846 cyclists killed in accidents in the U.S. In 2017, researchers at UCSF reported that over the course of 17 years, bicycle injuries added up to $237 billion for fatal and non-fatal accidents. And between 1997 and 2013, there were nearly 9,839 deaths and 3.8 million non-fatal accidents, with head injuries being the most common emergency room or hospital stay reasons.
Since 1975, the deaths of individuals aged 20 and over have tripled, with male riders being the more significant portion of accounted numbers. These statistics have stirred a movement toward helping educate drivers on the realities of sharing the road with cyclists. This progressive movement for cycle safety attributes to advocacy groups. These groups focus on working on raising awareness of the dangers of cyclists sharing the road with drivers. There is also a push to create more inclusion for riders and promote collaboration with leaders, businesses, and the community for a safe riding environment.
There are also proactive steps that are endorsing creating specific bike lanes and medians that protect the cyclist. Another factor is adding bike lanes next to the car lanes equipped with their turn lanes and signals. Bringing awareness has also been increased by promoting drivers to share the road and exercise more caution around riders. Furthermore, more education is available for cyclists about their rights and how safe cycling behaviors can prevent accidents.
Causes for Bicycle Accidents
The number of non-fatal accidents is steadily going down, but the number of fatality collisions is increasing. There are specific reasons for the rise in the statistics addressed within communities.
- Drivers are using less caution and are more distracted with handheld devices. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA) found that inattentive drivers cause 30% cycling accidents.
- New cyclists do not have the proper knowledge about safe practices. Riders that are not aware of their surroundings display less caution when sharing the roads with vehicles. Additionally, riders are starting to use handheld devices more commonly now, which leads to distracted bicycling.
- A lack of city infrastructure for cyclists is needed to promote much-needed changes. Having designated lanes outlined for the bicycles, more education for drivers, and creating barriers to keep the riders safe will contribute to rider safety.
- Drivers not yielding to the bicyclist. Understanding who has the right of way on the road or at an intersection leads to confusion if the driver is not appropriately educated and can cause further accidents.
- Roads that are not maintained or have dangerous ruts or dips. The city is required to keep the roads in good condition, but lack of care is the cause of 13% of all bicycle injuries.
- Riders who go out after dark. Because bicyclists are hard to see without proper reflective attire, it raises the risk of being struck by a vehicle. Over 50% of all cycling accidents happen after dark because the driver could not see the rider in time to stop.
What Should You Do if You Are in a Bicycle Accident?
It can be confusing if someone has struck you while on your bike and knowing what to do next. What is your following action if you are part of a collision where a driver is at fault? Whom do you call? And what information will you need to obtain if you are considering speaking to a lawyer?
If you are able, the first step is to check for injuries for yourself and others. If you are injured, stay down and do not move. Adrenaline can make you believe you do not have an injury, but getting up can cause further damage if there is harm. It can take longer for signs to show up, so getting professional medical help as soon as possible is a priority.
Calling 911 will help get emergency assistance there fast, which is very important if there are multiple injuries and other parties involved in the accident. In this situation, keep an eye out for things like:
- nausea or vomiting
- dizziness or fatigue
- broken or fractured bones
- loss of consciousness, delayed speech, or slurring
The quicker someone calls the authorities, the better chance someone who has sustained a life-threatening emergency will get the help they need. When help arrives, you will need to report the accident as it happened to you. This step is crucial because they will use the information for any insurance claim you may open to supporting your side.
If the incident was minor and you are okay, get off the road as soon as possible to avoid other vehicles impacting you or cause an accident from someone trying to evade you. Once you are in a safe area, it is imperative that you or someone else has a camera and get photos of the accident for the lawyer.
Physical documentation such as photos will also prove your claim if the case must go to trial. Do not make any statements around who you think is responsible for the accident, and be sure to follow up with a doctor for injuries.
What Information Do I Need to Get from the Parties?
Make sure you acquire all the information from everyone who is involved in the collision. In addition, the other party will have to speak to the attending authorities to give a statement. All of the information you gather will help support the claim and offer additional evidence if you go to court. Key pieces to gather from everyone involved are:
- insurance company and policy information
- information to contact the witnesses
- obtaining names, phone numbers, and addresses for individuals involved
- the make, model, and license plate number of vehicles connected
You need to have photos of all vehicles involved and any written details of the accident accounts supporting the story, such as the individuals involved and any damage.
Opening a Claim
When you are injured, it can feel overwhelming to have to acquire representation. What can seem like a minor injury can cause long-term issues that show up far down the road, so having knowledgeable support can help you get the assistance you need. Pain, suffering, and missing work can create headaches you do not want to deal with alone. Here are steps you can follow to get started with the claim process:
- Hire a personal injury representative. There is always the option to settle on your own, but having a seasoned professional on your side will help you derive the care you need.
- Let the individuals involved know you are pursuing a claim. The person responsible and their insurance company need a notification so they can get prepared.
- Retain a record of interactions around the accident. Keep any medical information such as notation for doctor’s appointments, loss of earnings, and damage estimates on property.
- Settling your accident claim. Once you agree to an amount, let your legal representation know. If you disagree, then work with your lawyer to start filing your suit.
Once you have gone to your doctor to check for injuries, keep all your appointment information on file. And make sure you have a follow-up with any specialists if you need physical therapy or require surgery. These are complicated matters, so we recommend legal counsel to help you stay advised and guide you through this intricate process.
Getting the Representation you Need for your Claim
Being injured by a negligent driver can be life-altering. If you get injured in a bicycle accident, you will want the best representation. Our lawyers pride themselves on understanding the laws regarding bicycle accidents and want you to rest easy knowing we are on your side.
At the Law Offices of Sadaka Associates, we work hard to help you receive the care and support you need to process your claim. Let our extensive knowledge show you why we are a locally trusted and skilled leader in our field. If you need help with your accident claim, give us a call at (800) 810-3457 today for your initial consultation.