Bicycles have been around for more than a hundred years, yet they remain a very popular mode of transportation. With a renewed concern for a clean environment, many people use their bicycles instead of their cars. This is especially true in the hot summer months, when the weather is good. Unfortunately, with the increased use of bikes, bicycle accidents are on the rise. When a car or truck and a bicycle collide, the bicyclist often suffers severe injuries or may even die.
Bicycle accidents are often very serious. Motorists need to be aware of bicycles on the road. Accidents can occur in various ways. A common accident happens when a vehicle approaches the bicycle from behind but fails to see the rider. The vehicle may hit the rider from the rear or side, often with great force. Bicycle accidents often occur in intersections – bike riders may not be seen or they could be traveling between cars.
Bicycle accidents can result in very serious injuries. Some of the most common types of injuries include back and neck, head trauma, broken bones, sprains, and bruises and scrapes. Internal injuries may also occur if the organs are bruised because of a dangerous fall. In some cases, the rider is knocked into the air, or even onto the vehicle. The bicyclist may alternatively be pushed over the handlebars. Contact with pavement causes severe damage to the body. Bicycle accidents usually result in multiple injuries, many of which require emergency treatment.
Prevention of Bicycle Accidents
Both bicycle riders and vehicle drivers can help in the prevention of bicycle accidents. Bicycle riders must be aware of the rules of the road and follow all traffic laws. Bike riders should always ride with traffic, rather than against it. Riders need to obey all traffic signals and signs. They must stop at all stop signs, even if they don’t see any traffic. Bicyclists must use hand signals to indicate a turn or stop. These signals help drivers understand what you are going to do so they can avoid you.
Reduce the Risk of Injuries on a Bicycle
There are several things that should be done to prevent the risk of serious injuries due to a bicycle accident.
- Wear a Helmet – Bicycle riders should wear a protective helmet at all times while riding their bike. The helmet must fit properly so that it actually protects the head in a fall. If a helmet has been damaged or has been worn in an accident, it is probably no longer able to protect as it should. These helmets should be replaced immediately.
- Stay Focused – Distractions while bicycling are the cause of some crashes. Bicycling in traffic is the same as driving a vehicle – you must stay focused. Do not use your cell phone or other devices while riding your bike.
- Use Lights at Night – Bicycles are required to use lights at night. Make sure that you have functioning lights on both the front and back of the bicycle. Reflective discs are also helpful and should be placed on the bicycle in various locations.
- Ride Single File – Riding in groups can be fun, but it can also be more dangerous than riding alone. Do not ride next to each other, even if there are no cars on the road. Do not keep looking behind you as this can cause your bike to swerve into traffic.
- Wear Protective Clothing – It may be hot outside, but it is helpful to protect your legs and arms in case of an accident. Wear long pants and a long sleeved top that will keep your body safe if you fall onto pavement or gravel. Do not wear pants that can get caught in the chain.
- Always Ride on the Right – Bicycle riders should always ride on the right side of the road. Do not attempt to weave in and out of traffic, or try to get around cars when vehicles are slowed.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, the first thing you may need is immediate medical attention. Do not try to get up or walk if your back, neck, or head are injured. Stay where you are and wait for help. If you are able to do so, report the accident to the police immediately. Get the name and other information of the driver of the vehicle. Tell the police officer exactly how the accident happened. Never apologize for the accident, because it may not be your fault. Only a complete investigation can uncover the details of the incident. If you are seriously hurt, you may be owed money for medical costs and other damages.
Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents occur when the driver whose actions were the cause of the accident leaves the scene. When a hit and run happens, there are a few things you should do: Always call the police to make a report; try to remember as much as you can about the make, model, and age of the vehicle as well as the driver; note whether there are any security cameras that may have recorded the incident; and talk to any witnesses and make sure that they are interviewed by the police. Your attorney will work with the police to try to locate the driver and bring him to justice.
Talk to an Attorney
Medical costs may turn out to be quite high. If surgery or further treatment is needed, the expenses could be astronomical. If you are injured because of an accident that was not your fault, you are entitled to collect money for your costs. These damages may include medical costs, money for pain and suffering, lost wages, and other expenses that were incurred because of the accident. You are also owed money for future expenses and care that may be necessary. When you or a family member were the victim of a bicycle accident, call the experienced personal injury attorneys in Columbia, SC at The Connell Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation to discuss your options.