Every day cyclists are put in harm’s way on the road as cars and trucks fail to keep cyclists safety in mind on their daily commute. People who ride bicycles as a form of transportation to and from work or school, or just as a form of recreation, deserve the same level of traffic safety that passenger vehicles are given. Unfortunately, some drivers blatantly threaten cyclists, refuse to share the road safely, or are simply neglectful and fail to look for cyclists while they are driving. In the United States, bicycle accidents occur all too frequently leaving cyclists seriously injured or even killed. In most states, including Texas, bicycles are considered a vehicle – and if they are involved in an accident, the vehicle that hit them must stay at the scene of the collision to exchange information and check on the cyclist. A recent review of 2020 cyclist deaths conducted by Outside magazine showed that more than a quarter of all cyclist fatalities occurred in hit-and-run accidents. That statistic alone is alarming but when paired with other national bicycle accident statistics, the picture becomes bleak. The National Safety Council reported that preventable deaths from bicycle transportation incidents have increased by 37 percent over the last decade. The findings show that bicycle accident-related deaths peak during the summer months, starting in June, and remain high through September. In 2019, 1,089 cyclists died in bicycle accidents in the United States.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There are many reasons why a car may hit a cyclist while on the road. These types of crashes can be severe and cause serious injuries to the cyclist and the driver. Some common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Rear-ending the cyclist: Rear-ending occurs when a driver fails to stop in time and hits a cyclist from behind. This often happens when a vehicle driver is distracted and not paying attention to the road ahead.
- Crossing in front of a cyclist: When a driver maneuvers their vehicle into a cyclist’s path at an intersection or from a driveway even though the cyclist has already entered the intersection, the driver often turns directly into the bicycle’s path and hits the cyclist.
- Opening a door into a cyclist: Bikers can get seriously hurt when a car door opens into their path, causing them to make a hard impact with that door. This is common on busy streets with heavy traffic.
- Side-swiping a cyclist: When a driver does not give a cyclist in the bike lane or lane next to them enough room and hits the cyclist from the side, it is considered side-swiping.
- Distracted Driving: If a driver is not paying attention to their surroundings and the road ahead because they are distracted by a phone, GPS device, children in the back of the car, eating food, or other non-driving activities, they can easily miss seeing a bicycle and hit a cyclist.
Other common factors involved in bicycle accidents are known to be dangerous for motor vehicle accidents as well, including inclement weather conditions, speeding vehicles, drivers operating their vehicles while intoxicated, and conscious failures of drivers to follow traffic signals. Because cyclists have so little protection compared to passenger vehicles, no matter who is at fault for a bicycle accident, the cyclist is often much more seriously injured.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Unlike passenger vehicle drivers who have their entire car or truck to protect them, a cyclist only has their helmet and protective gear (if they have them on) to keep them safe while riding along the road. Cyclists are more physically vulnerable on the roads, which makes it important for drivers to keep an eye out while operating their vehicles.
Some common injuries seen as a result of a bicycle accident include:
- Broken and dislocated bones
- Road rash
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries including bruising, sprains, and strains
- Internal organ injuries
Many of the above-listed injuries are incredibly painful and can be debilitating. These injuries have the potential for life-changing, career-ending consequences. If you have been hit by a driver while riding your bicycle to work, school, or for leisure, our experienced personal injury lawyers can help.
What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?
Being in a bicycle accident can be traumatizing and you may be in shock immediately following the crash. Knowing what to do after a bicycle accident will be incredibly helpful to protect your rights after the collision. The first thing to do is to call emergency services if you are able to. Even if the accident is minor and you do not feel you need medical treatment, you should still call the police to file a report, legally documenting the fact that an accident occurred. If you have been injured (highly likely in a bicycle accident), tell emergency services and they can send emergency medical aid. When the police arrive, make sure to tell them the facts of what occurred and let them know if there are any witnesses to the accident that they can speak to. If you were hit by a car or another cyclist and you suspect they are intoxicated, let the police know.
After any accident or collision, you should exchange contact information with all other parties involved, including driver’s license information and insurance information. Taking a picture of these items makes it easy to exchange that information. If you are physically able to, be sure to also take pictures and/or video of the scene of the accident, your injuries, damage to your bicycle, damage to any vehicles involved, street signs and traffic lights nearby, and if there are any skid marks on the street. Documenting the scene will go a long way in your case.
Even if you do not feel injured, and choose not to take an ambulance to the emergency room, you should always see a doctor or medical professional after any type of accident. Many victims are in a state of shock after being in a crash. This means there may be injuries present in the victim’s body but they cannot feel them because their adrenaline is pumping. Significant injuries may not present themselves for hours if not days after the accident and will require medical treatment. Any delay in medical treatment will be fuel for the insurance companies to deny your claim for compensation for your damages.
Amarillo Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Bicycle accidents can cause serious injuries which can, in turn, lead to costly medical bills, lost wages, PTSD, and uncertainty about your future. Your pain and suffering are real, and we are here to help you through this process. The experienced legal team of Lovell, Lovell, Isern & Farabough, LLP fights for the maximum amount of financial compensation for each and every bicycle accident victim and their family – we know how to deal with insurance companies and we stand ready to take your bicycle accident case to trial if necessary. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a Texas bicycle accident, contact our law firm today for a free and confidential consultation.