A recent emphasis on personal wellbeing and environmentally-conscious lifestyles has pushed more of today’s commuters to turn to bicycles as their transportation of choice. While hopping on a bike to head to work, school, or the grocery store may sound appealing, bicyclists need to understand the risk of heading out onto the road.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, over 2,700 crashes involving cyclists occurred throughout 2017. Almost thirty of those accidents ended in fatalities for the cyclists involved; another 2,689 lead to injury. Most of these bicycle accidents occurred in urban spaces, but over 15 percent of them took place in rural areas.
Taking your bike out for a day around town poses some unique risks. If you or a loved one have fallen victim to a bicycle accident, it’s important to understand what steps you should take to protect yourself and your rights. One of the best ways to ensure that this occurs revolves around knowledge: bicyclists should understand what sorts of injuries they may receive during an accident and which actions to take during the time that follows. If you have more questions about your case then contact the skilled bicycle accident attorneys at Abels & Annes today.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Automobiles pose a significant danger to bicyclists on the road. It makes good sense: if you’re navigating the streets in normal clothes with little more than a helmet to protect you, you likely won’t come out of a collision with a motor vehicle as safely as the vehicle driver. Bicyclists need to know the types of bicycle accidents that they face thanks to negligent drivers and reckless behavior.
Many bicycle accidents take place in intersections. Any area where vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists converge poses an increased risk of injury. It’s important to maintain a keen awareness of your surroundings in intersections.
- Right hook accidents aren’t tremendously common, but do occur in intersections throughout Illinois. These collisions involve bicyclists and drivers heading in the same direction; if the vehicle driver attempts to pass or overtake the cyclist to make a right turn, cyclists may crash or be hit
- Left cross accidents occur when motorists and bicyclists approach each other from opposite directions; if a vehicle makes an unexpected left turn in front of (or even into) a cyclist, the collision is sometimes referred to as a left cross
Dooring accidents occur when motorists open their vehicle doors into oncoming cyclists. Situations like these can be startling and frustrating for cyclists. Automobile operators are meant to shoulder the responsibility of ensuring cyclists’ safety— they are at fault if their negligent actions cause a bicyclist harm. However, most still fail to take adequate care in ensuring that cyclists are safe as they open their doors.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle accidents have the potential to lead to injuries. Some cyclists manage to escape collisions with relatively minor injuries— others are not so lucky.
Some of the most common bicycle accident injuries include:
- Abrasions and lacerations to various parts of the body; road rash often leads to these types of injuries
- Contusions and strains
- Fractures that sometimes require surgery
- Neck and head injuries including hematomas, hemorrhages, and concussions
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
Steps to Take if You Are Injured in a Bicycle Accident
If you or a loved one have experienced injuries as the result of a bicycle accident, it’s important to take a handful of steps to ensure your safety. Those who elect to pursue compensation for their injuries should work carefully to follow these guidelines. Not only will these steps allow you to confirm your own personal wellbeing, but they’re also essential to settling or proving a case and receiving damages.
- Contact the police to file an official report. Filing an accident report with the authorities will ensure that your accident is on-record. You may also be able to offer information that is more accurate than your memories could allow in the future. This is also a good time to collect personal and insurance information from the driver involved in your accident.
- Seek medical attention immediately following your accident. If you received emergency transport to a hospital after the crash, it’s still a good idea to follow-up with your primary care physician and address any lingering questions or physical problems. Even if you were assessed and determined to be injury-free, you should still consider seeing a doctor to get checked out. Many injuries fail to present themselves for some time after an accident.
- Preserve and collect evidence such as witness statements, photographs, medical documentation, and property that may have been damaged during the crash (such as your bicycle). If you received visible injuries, take pictures of them.
- Contact a bicycle accident attorney to help guide you through the legal process. An attorney will help you better understand your rights and will be able to assist you in your pursuit of compensation. Your attorney may also clarify which evidence you should collect and present in court
Bicycle Accidents: Dangerous and Devastating
Victims of bicycle accidents deserve to understand their rights. They also need to learn about the unique risks that they face on the road—it’s one of the only ways to increase the chances of successfully avoiding a potentially fatal crash. Cyclists should always look out for negligent or aggressive drivers who fail to take cyclist safety into account.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, seek medical treatment and legal counsel immediately. Medical professionals will be able to ensure your safety and help paint a clear picture of the injuries you sustained during a crash. A trustworthy and experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you begin your path to compensation and legal recourse.
If you received injuries in a bicycle crash, consider contacting an attorney experienced in bicycle accident injury claims. An attorney will work with you to determine the best approach to your case, and help devise the best plan for moving forward.