As the weather gets warmer, bicyclists will be outdoors riding for recreation, exercise and commuting to and from work. Riding a bicycle can be an enjoyable event during the summer months, and brings a great deal of health benefits, but with it comes a number of risks to both bike riders and motorists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), just over 2% of all traffic accidents that resulted in personal injury involved an individual on a bicycle in 2012. In order to avoid accidents with cyclists, it is important to be aware of the types of incidents that can occur and the steps to reduce bicycle accidents from taking place.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) conducted substantial research on the types of accidents that occur among bicyclists. The most common accidents among young bike riders involve children playing while riding, such as doing tricks or driving fast enough to lose control over the bike. Teenage and adult cyclists are more likely to come in contact with a car or truck on the road. Additionally, cyclists can experience the following incidents while riding:
- A car or truck entering the path or turning in front of a cyclist
- A cyclist entering the path or turning in front of a car or truck
- A right turn from a major road to a minor road where pavement changes
- Hitting a road obstruction such as a pothole or large bump
- Colliding with a car or truck door while riding
Injuries that result from one of these incidents can be mild to severe and may include arm and leg fractures, bruising or broken bones, chest or stomach injuries, and/or head trauma. Although the potential for accidents applies to bicyclists and motorists alike, individuals can take certain steps to reduce the risk of bicycle accidents throughout the summer.
Steps for Bicyclists
The most efficient way to avoid accidents as a bicyclist is to follow the rules of the road by adhering to traffic signs, lights, and speed limits. Additionally, cyclists should take care to signal their intentions to other cyclists and motorists with whom they share the road. Using the appropriate hand signals, looking before crossing a lane or proceeding after a stop, and riding in a straight line with no unexpected maneuvering are all beneficial to both the bike rider and other traffic. Cyclists can also reduce the potential for accidents by wearing bright clothing that allows them to be seen, and by using protective riding gear such as helmets to prevent additional damages if accidents occur.
Steps for Motorists
Similar to cyclist responsibilities, car and truck drivers must also be prepared to follow the rules of the road when it comes to traffic signals, lane changes, and speed limits. In addition to these foundations of driving, motorists should not use mobile devices while operating a vehicle, nor should they be unpredictable when changing lanes or turning. Allowing for ample room between cyclists and the vehicle when passing or changing lanes is also helpful in reducing the potential for an accident. Finally, if an accident does take place with a cyclist, motorists should stay with the cyclist at the accident scene and call for emergency help as soon as possible.
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC | A Personal Injury Law Firm
Traffic accidents are inevitable despite our best intentions to keep ourselves and others safe on the road. Cyclists have a greater potential to endure long-lasting physical and emotional injury due to a collision with a car or truck because there is no barrier between the rider and the road. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident and have suffered an injury, know that we are here to assist you. Gladstein Law Firm is a Louisville practice focused on obtaining the right amount of compensation for those who have suffered from the negligence of other drivers on the road. We are experts in identifying the legal and financial needs that come from personal injury, and we fight with persistency to ensure those needs are adequately met. Contact us today for a free consultation.