Riding a bicycle next to a moving motor vehicle is a bicyclist’s legal right. Although a legal activity, it is also a very dangerous one due to many negligent drivers on the road. Unfortunately, drivers of cars and trucks often fail to see small bicycles or respect their right to the road. This makes bicycle crashes inevitable anywhere cars traverse.
Where Bicycle Accidents Commonly Occur
- Intersections. When drivers attempt to make right- or left-hand turns, they often forget to look out for bicycles before turning. Sometimes drivers will see cyclists and try to beat them to the intersection so they don’t have to wait on the cyclist to cross the street. The reality is that turning cars at intersections are often a major cause of bicycle crashes.
- Parking lot driveways. Drivers of cars often pull out of parking lots without looking for bicyclists. When this happens, cyclists are often cut off and ejected from their bikes or pushed out further into traffic and run over by other vehicles.
- City and rural streets. When drivers attempt to pass bicycles on the road, they sometimes cut it too close and fail to give cyclists the proper amount of room. As a result, they may clip a bicycle and send the rider off the road.
The reality is that bicycle crashes can happen anywhere including quiet neighborhoods or bustling downtowns. Although bicycle accidents can take place in the city or country, the numbers increase with heavier traffic. While congestion is a cause of bicycle accidents, there are a number of other reasons bicyclists are injured in wrecks.
Common Causes of Bicycle Crashes
- Driver distraction. So many drivers of cars and trucks are distracted at the wheel by their smartphones. Whether they text and drive, talk on the phone, look at social media sites, or reply to emails, their eyes are off the road, hands are off the wheel, and mind is off of driving — even if it’s only for a matter of seconds. As a result, they may miss seeing bicycles on the road.
- Drowsy driving. Truck drivers are notorious for driving too many hours without sleeping; however, drivers of cars have also been guilty of driving without getting proper rest. As a result, there are many tired drivers on the road who cause crashes due to their altered state of mind.
- Drunk or drugged driving. Many drivers get behind the wheel drunk or drugged. When drivers are impaired by alcohol or drugs, they can make poor decisions, their reactions may be slower, and their vision may be altered. Consequently, they may miss seeing a bicyclist sharing the road with them.
- Reckless driving. When drivers go 80 miles per hour or above the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour, it is considered reckless driving in Virginia. Often times speeding and reckless driving cause drivers to blow through stop signs and signal lights, which can cause crashes that may leave cyclists with critical injuries.
When cars or trucks make contact with bicycles on the road, cyclists often suffer very serious and life-threatening injuries. This is mainly due to the difference in sizes between bicycles and other larger vehicles and the fact that cyclists don’t have the same protection that those in cars and trucks have. Sadly, cyclists are often left fighting for their lives due to the serious injuries they sustain in bike crashes.
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
- Bone fractures. Because cyclists don’t have anything protecting their arms or legs, they often suffer multiple bone fractures in the event of a crash. Sometimes broken bones can pierce the skin and cause infections, and other times bone fractures can damage nerves and blood vessels that can lead to serious complications. When bones are broken, surgery might be required followed by physical therapy that can lead to months of recovery.
- Facial injuries. Because cyclists are often thrown for their bikes, they often sustain trauma to the face. This can include broken teeth, jaw injuries, eye injuries, cuts and scarring that can be severe.
- Brain injuries. Although many cyclists wear bicycle helmets, the force of a bicycle accident can be enough to cause a helmeted cyclist to still suffer a blow to the head. This is because cyclists are often thrown over their handlebars and can land on vehicles, hard pavement, or strike other objects with their heads. When this occurs, a concussion, contusion, hematoma, or traumatic brain injury may be the result. Sadly, any type of brain injury can result in life-long challenges for the injured cyclist.
- Spinal cord injuries. When bicyclists are ejected from their bicycles and land on their backs, they can suffer injuries to their heads, necks, backs and spines. In severe cases, a partial or complete tear of the spinal cord may occur — resulting in a serious spinal cord injury and some form of paralysis.
- Wrongful death. Because of the lack of protection in the event of a bicycle accident, a cyclist who ends up being thrown into traffic, a tree, or other objects will have an increased chance of suffering fatal injuries. When cyclists are victims of wrongful death, their families need to pursue their legal rights through wrongful death claims.
Traumatic cycling injuries are often the result when bicycles and cars or trucks collide. When injured bicyclists are faced with serious physical injuries in addition to the harsh financial reality of a crash, they need to learn all they can about their rights to compensation through a personal injury claim.
Seeking Compensation After a Bicycle Crash
When other drivers’ errors and negligence cause bicyclists to crash and suffer injuries, injured cyclists have a legal right to pursue a financial recovery for the following damages:
- Medical bills. When serious injuries occur, medical bills can add up fast from the ambulance ride to surgery and months of physical therapy. Any and all medical expenses related to bicycle accidents should all be covered by the other driver’s insurance company — even co-pays. Depending on the seriousness of an injury, an injured cyclist may need medical care for life. In this event, future medical expenses should be calculated prior to settling with the insurance company.
- Lost wages. If a bicycle crash causes an injured cyclist to miss work and earn a living, he or she should be compensated for lost income. Additionally, if the bike crash leaves the cyclist unable to work for life, the injured cyclist may be entitled to future loss of income and benefits.
- Pain and suffering. Emotional trauma and physical pain are often side effects bicycle accident victims are left to deal with, and they should be compensated accordingly.
- Loss of services. If a bicycle accident victim is a stay-at-home mom or dad, the family should be compensated for services such as needing to hire a housekeeper, nanny, or other in-home service that the injured victim can no longer do.
Because bicycle accidents produce traumatic physical injuries as well as financial trauma, the victim and his or her family should speak with an accident attorney who has experience in handling bicycle accident claims. For a free consultation and to learn more about your rights and pursuing a personal injury claim to collect the compensation you need and deserve, contact us at (703) 591-0067. We have the experience and dedication you are looking for.