With spring steadily ushering in warmer temperatures and more favorable weather, many are returning to recreational activities like hiking, and trading in public transportation or driving to work for biking. One of the unfortunate realities of an uptick in pedestrian and bicycle traffic, however, is an increase in traffic accidents involving these more vulnerable individuals. The Center for Disease Control notes that while bicycles account for only 1% of trips in the United States, bicyclists face a much higher risk of injury or death from traffic accidents than motor vehicle passengers or drivers.
Due to concern over bicycle safety and accidents involving motor vehicles in California, a 5 year study was conducted by the California Department of Public Health. According to this study, bicycle injuries increased by 21% in California from 2007 to 2013. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in 2017 that from March to May, most bicycle fatalities nationwide occurred from 9 to 11:59PM, followed closely by deadly incidents during the hours of 6-8:59PM and thirdly between 3-5:59PM and that California had a bicycle fatality rate of 3.4%.
5 Steps to a Safer Ride
With a growing focus on the environment and public health, the amount of regular bicyclists is only increasing, and as such, so does the risk of being injured. Here are some steps you can take in order to enjoy a safer bike ride.
- Wear bright clothing. While you can’t control drivers, you can help them to be aware of your presence. This is especially important if you plan to bicycle at night or during weather conditions that reduce visibility.
- Keep your bike in good shape. Equip your bike with lights and be sure to fix any broken parts, such as reflectors, brakes, or gears. Ensure your tires are properly inflated before heading out on a trip.
- Wear a helmet. 857 bicyclists died in the US during 2018. Wearing a helmet may not keep you from injury, but it may save your life by protecting your head and the risk of head injuries by up to 50% and neck or face injuries by up to 33%.
- Follow traffic laws. Familiarize yourself with the hand signals and right of way rules for bicyclists.
- Practice defensive driving. Never assume a driver can see you. When possible, make eye contact with drivers at intersections and be on the lookout for distracted drivers.
10 Steps To Take Immediately After A Bicycle Injury
Even if you are a responsible and experienced bicyclist, you may share the road with distracted or poor drivers who are one of the most common causes of bicycle accidents. If you or a loved one is injured while bicycling, there are several steps you should take to ensure the best outcome for your health and your personal injury claim.
- Get off the road but stay on the scene. Remove yourself and your bicycle from the road to avoid further injury. A bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle is serious and leaving the scene could result in losing your chance to seek compensation from the at fault driver.
- Check yourself for injuries. Be sure to alert the driver that you are injured.
- Exchange contact information with the driver. Make sure to take note of their license plate number, name, phone number, and insurance information.
- Take photographs. Get photos of your injuries, your bike, the car, and the location of the incident.
- Call the police and report the accident. An officer will arrive to assess the scene and create an accident report and official record of the incident. They should also interview both you and the driver, as well as any witnesses.
- Seek medical attention. Follow up on any treatment protocols they prescribe you, and be sure to keep track of medications and symptoms you face.
- Keep evidence. Resist the urge to fix your bicycle after the accident, but instead store it in a safe place. If possible, preserve your clothing and shoes from the day someplace safe as well.
- Contact your insurance. If you hold personal injury, homeowners, or renters insurance, you should provide them with the information you collected from the accident.
- Contact an attorney. Being hit by a car while bicycling can result in serious injuries or even death. You have the right to seek compensation for damages caused to your body and property by another, and the right personal injury lawyer will fight to get what you deserve.
- Refrain from posting on social media. While it is very tempting to share news of your accident and injuries, keeping the information and details between yourself and your attorney can ensure
Are you ready to start the road to recovery? As a victim of a traffic accident, you have rights and can seek compensation from individuals who have caused you injury. Contact Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers today for your free online case evaluation. Our customer-focused team of bicycle accident attorneys are experts at getting you the solid settlement you deserve.