Bicycle accidents can be traumatic events, causing severe injuries or even death. If you or someone you know has been in a bicycle accident, it’s important to take steps to protect your legal rights so that you can receive the compensation you may be owed. That’s where a knowledgeable and experienced bicycle accident lawyer like the group at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys can help. In this article, we’ll explore what to do if you’ve been injured in a bike accident and why it’s so important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
How common are bicycle accidents?
Bicycle accidents might be more common than you realize. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 857 bicyclist fatalities in the United States in 2018 alone. Of course, fatalities aren’t the only concern. In the same year, there were 47,000 bicycling injuries reported in the U.S. This includes both serious and non-serious injuries. In spite of nationwide efforts to make our roadways safer for cyclists, these accidents still happen at alarming rates. If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, know that you are not alone, and there are people who can help you navigate the legalities of your incident.
Where do most bicycle accidents occur?
The NHTSA reports that the majority of fatal bicycle accidents happen in urban areas. With higher populations and more cars and bicycles on the roadways, this is not surprising. Bicycle accidents happen frequently in places like intersections and bike lanes. This can be because of drivers who aren’t paying attention or if they are unable to see bicyclists clearly.
Other factors can also come into play, such as speeding, drunk driving, or simple traffic violations. These violations can be committed by either the drivers or the bicyclists. For example, a common factor for either vehicle or cyclist is the failure to yield. Overall, bicycle accidents can be a serious concern, and it’s essential to be aware of the risks and keep yourself as safe as possible.
What should you do after a bicycle accident?
Although it can be difficult to think clearly after a bicycle collision or accident, knowing what to do can be critical for protecting your legal rights. The first and most important thing to do if you are injured is to call 9-1-1 to get the proper medical treatment. Once you have done so, you’ll want to start collecting evidence and information if you’re able. This includes taking photos of the scene, focusing on any damage that may have occurred. You also want to be sure to get the contact information of any witnesses at the scene. Police should take any witness statements when they arrive, but it’s helpful to get as much information as you can and as soon as possible while it’s still fresh on everyone’s mind.
The next step is to contact an attorney. A good lawyer can help you understand the laws that might apply to your situation. For example, many people think that pedestrian traffic regulations apply to bicyclists, but this isn’t usually the case. While some of the laws overlap, there is a completely different set of regulations for each.
How can you protect yourself from bicycle accidents?
While we certainly can’t 100% safeguard ourselves and loved ones from accidents, we can learn to take the proper precautions to reduce the risk. Helmets, for starters, are great tools for protecting ourselves. Studies show that helmets reduce the risk of both head and brain injury by about 60%.
Another thing you can do is make sure your bike fits you. This will help you to have more control over it while you are enjoying a ride. That includes making sure the seat is comfortable and secure and that you are able to put both feet on the ground when you come to a stop. Most reputable bike shops can help you find the best fit. It is also essential to keep your bike maintained and functioning properly and pay close attention to your surroundings.
You also want to consider the safety of your clothing. This includes tying your shoes securely and wearing bright colors or reflective gear. When you ride, choosing long sleeves and leg covering will give an extra layer of protection from the pavement if an accident does occur.
Should you seek legal advice after a bicycle accident?
A bicycle accident can have severe physical, emotional, and financial repercussions on the person involved and their loved ones. Knowing what to do immediately after an accident can often help soften the impact, especially on your finances. Even though money might be the last thing on your mind when something like this happens, you will very likely have expenses that can be a strain. A skilled attorney can help relieve some of that burden and work to get you the compensation you deserve while you focus on healing. The sooner you get help, the sooner you’ll be able to move on.
Bicycle Deaths (2020).
Bicycle Safety (2020).
Transportation Safety (2022).