I’ve Been Injured in a Bicycle Accident; What Do I Do Next?
Bicycling has increased in popularity due to the health benefits and the ease of transportation. However, this pastime has a downside as well – the risk of accidents. In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, 720 riders lost their lives in accidents across the nation, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Additional Bicycle Accident Statistics
Relevant statistics include:
- Deaths for those 20 and younger accounted for 86 percent of cyclist fatalities.
- However, deaths for those over 20 have almost tripled.
- According to the Center for Diseases Control, bicycle rides account for 1 percent of all transportation in the nation, yet fatalities are at double the rate for those in vehicles.
- Between 1974 and 2012, nearly 30,000 people lost their lives in bicycle accidents across the nation.
- In general, males suffer six times the fatality rate of females in bicycle accidents.
Reasons for Bicycle Accidents
According to a National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Accidents, the most common cause for cyclist accidents is getting hit by a car.
Additional causes of injuries, according to frequency, are:
- Poorly maintained roads
- Rider mistakes
- Cyclist crashes
- Canine running out
Types of Bicycle Accident Injuries
The impact of a vehicle with a bicyclist usually results in serious and life-changing injuries and even death.
Some of these injuries include:
- Soft-muscle tissue damage
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Vertebrae fractures
- Facial injuries
Injuries might easily lead to permanent disabilities. Cyclists can sometimes mitigate damage by obeying traffic laws and wearing helmets.
Basics of Bicycle Accident Liability
Both drivers and cyclists must adhere to the law and exercise due diligence when it comes to others on the road. Generally, a driver needs to yield the right of way to a pedestrian or cyclist.
When assessing damages after a vehicle-bicycle collision, the courts will usually determine responsibility for the accident. However, some jurisdictions have traditionally held the cyclist responsible, even if the driver was partially at fault.
For example, the District of Columbia had a contributory negligence law that kept many bicycle accident attorneys from accepting personal injury cases. If the rider held even a small portion of responsibility for the accident, they would not receive any compensation. A 2016 proposal seeks to overturn that long-standing law.
If a child was riding the bicycle, the courts generally hold the driver of the vehicle to a higher standard of responsibility. Contact our personal injury lawyer if you have questions about liability issues.
Driver Negligence and Recklessness
Whenever a driver does not obey the traffic laws, he or she might be found negligent. The courts will determine on a case-by-case basis if the vehicle operator failed to fulfill a duty owed to the rider. This involves eyewitness testimony, evidence from the scene, police reports and other factors.
Why Bicyclists Need a Bicycle Injury Attorney to Represent Them
If you know someone who has suffered bicycle accidents in Cleveland, then you will need to seek seasoned legal representation in order to protect your rights. Call our bicycle accident lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio, to find out your options.
Image provided by Valdosta-Lowndes MPO under the creative commons attribution 2.o generic license.
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