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What Causes Bicycle Accidents?

In recent years, cycling has become more popular. Not only does cycling offer health and fitness benefits, but many people are turning towards cycling to reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, many cities are working to make their roadways more cyclist-friendly. However, with this increase in popularity, there has also been an increase in bicycle accidents.

Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:

  • A motorist failing to see cyclists
  • Drifting into bicycle lanes
  • Failure to signal or improper signaling
  • Failure to look for cyclists in intersections and when making turns
  • Unexpected lane changes
  • Failure to share the road
  • Speeding and reckless driving
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

What Are the Most Common Bicycle Injuries?

Motorists are supposed to share the road with bicyclists, but unfortunately, this does not always happen. When motorists are negligent or reckless, cyclists can get hurt. When a cyclist is in an accident with a motorist, cyclists often suffer injury. This is due largely to the size and weight of motor vehicles and the lack of protection cyclists have.

Keep reading to learn about some of the most common bicycle accident injuries.

Head Injuries

Head injuries are the most common bicycle injuries that result in long-term disability or fatalities. Because cyclists are so exposed, it is vitally important that cyclists always wear a helmet while riding. When selecting a bicycle helmet, you want to make sure that it fits properly, as a poor fit can inhibit the helmet's ability to protect you during an accident.

Similarly, you want to select an appropriate helmet for the type of cycling you are doing. For example, if you use your bike to commute to work, you will want to select a road bike helmet. However, if you only ride your bike on off-road trails, you want to choose a mountain bike helmet. If you are unsure what type of helmet to purchase, go to your local bike shop and speak with one of their experts.

Additionally, if you have been in a crash or accident, you need to replace your helmet. After a collision, the helmet's integrity may be compromised. Even if the helmet looks fine to you, it must be replaced with a new one.

Traumatic Injuries

When a cyclist is in a collision with a motor vehicle, they can suffer catastrophic injuries. Like head injuries, traumatic injuries are the most serious and often fatal or result in long-term disabilities. Examples of traumatic injuries include neck and back injuries, dismemberment, and traumatic brain injuries.

If you or a loved one suffered a head injury or traumatic injury after a bicycle accident, you should reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may have grounds to seek compensation for your injuries. While you may have health insurance, the costs associated with a traumatic injury extend beyond your immediate medical care. You may be able to seek compensation for current and future lost wages, rehabilitation costs, long-term care needs, pain, and suffering.

Other Injuries

In addition to head injuries and traumatic injuries, cyclists often suffer injuries such as abrasions, contusions, lacerations, and fractures. They may also experience soft-tissue damage, such as pulled muscles and sprains. Concussions and whiplash are also common.

If you are injured in an accident, you should always seek medical attention. Many injuries, such as soft tissue injuries and whiplash, are not immediately apparent. If left untreated, these injuries can lead to a lifetime of chronic pain.

You should also consult with a trusted attorney. Even seemingly small injuries can have long-term consequences. A lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you are entitled to and represent you should your case go to court.

Three Easy Bicycle Safety Tips

As a cyclist, there are things you can do to help protect yourself from accidents and injury. No matter your skill level, it's recommended that cyclists regularly re-familiarize themselves with bicycle safety guidelines. Below we review three easy ways you can improve your bicycle safety today.

Review Local Bicycle Laws

Not every city has the same bicycle laws, and different parts of the city may have different rules. Regardless of whether you commute by bicycle or only ride recreationally, before hitting the road, you should research the traffic rules in your area and the area in which you will be cycling.

Learn Proper Hand Signals

Unlike cars and other vehicles, the average bike is not equipped with indicator lights or brake lights. This can make it more difficult to alert other vehicles and cyclists when you plan to turn or stop. Take some time to learn the proper cycling hand signals, and then use them while riding. Properly signaling to other drivers helps prevent accidents and collisions and can keep everyone safe.

Review this handout from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to learn basic cycling hand signals.

Make Yourself Visible to Motorists

When it comes to preventing bicycle accidents, visibility is key. Many accidents happen because motorists do not see cyclists. When cycling, you should always wear bright, easy to see colors. If you are riding at night, early in the morning, or during twilight hours, make sure you are also wearing reflective gear. Most bikes come with a few reflectors already installed, but if you ride at night often, you may want to install supplemental reflectors and lights on your bicycle. This will help motorists see you.

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