Washington, DC Bicycle
Protecting the Rights of Injured Bicyclists
1.5 percent of people killed and 2 percent of people injured in traffic
accidents are bicyclists. It is estimated that one in 20 bicyclists are
injured each year. Most serious and fatal bicycle-related injuries are
traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Bicycle Accident Causes
About one-third of bicycle accidents involve collision with a motor vehicle.
Although not the majority of bicycle accidents, automobile collisions
with a bicycle are responsible for most severe bicycle-related injuries
and deaths. According to the
Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, 92% of bicyclist deaths on U.S. roads in 2005 were caused by collisions
with motor vehicles.
Automobiles can be involved in bicycle accidents without ever striking
the cyclist - if it runs a bicycle off the road, there can be minor to
severe injuries, and in some cases, death.
Bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles usually happen for one of three reasons:
- Drivers do not watch for or see bicyclists
- Drivers do not respect bicyclists' right to share the road
- Inexperienced or uneducated bicyclists
Roadway Risks & the Rights of Cyclists
It is important to keep in mind that having the right of way does not mean
you will not be struck by a vehicle. Being "right" can also
mean being killed or permanently injured.
Drivers have a legal responsibility to look out for bicyclists and respect
their right of way as if they were other motor vehicles, but when they fail to do so a bicyclist is far more likely to be catastrophically
injured or killed than another driver or passenger. Reasons why your right
of way may not protect you from being struck by a vehicle in real life include:
- Distracted drivers
- Intoxicated drivers
- Defective vehicles (such as brake failure)
- Poor visibility due to weather conditions, visual obstructions, or blind spots
- Road conditions (hydroplaning due to standing water, etc.)
- Faulty traffic lights
- Improperly marked roads and bike lanes
- Drivers who don't know the laws in your city, county, or state
- Road rage
Bicyclists can also be injured by defective bicycles, due to design flaws
or manufacturing errors. Roadway defects in bike paths, bike lanes, and
other roadways can cause a crash. In some cases, other bicyclists or even
pedestrians may be responsible.
In any situation in which a preventable bicycle accident was caused by
the negligence of another – such as a negligent driver or a manufacturer
that made unsafe products – injured victims may have the right to
pursue financial compensation for their damages, which can include medical
bills, lost work income, pain and suffering and more. The legal process
of obtain the fair amount of compensation one deserves can be difficult
and hotly contested by insurance providers that want to minimize payouts
as much as possible. For these reasons, working with an experienced lawyer
who knows how to hold at-fault parties and insurers liable for the harm
they caused is key to protecting your rights and future.
Our firm is a legal resource member and proud supporter of the Washington
Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). Learn more about our advocacy efforts
to make DC roadways safer for local cyclists and how to report a wreck on our
bicycle crash reporting form.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the most common cause of death in bicycle
accidents. About 50,000 children in the U.S. sustain bicycle-related TBI
each year, with over 400 dying from their injuries. The Bicycle Helmet
Safety Institute says that two-thirds of bicycle-related deaths are from
TBI and that one in eight cyclists who report their injuries report TBI.
The actual number of bicycle-related TBI may be much higher because brain
injuries are not always readily apparent, and injuries from cycling accidents
often seem too minor for emergency room treatment.
Other common bicycle accident injuries include:
- Crush injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Neck injury
- Back injury
- Knee injury
- Facial injuries
- Severe road rash and scarring
Free Consultation with a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Washington, DC
If you or someone you care about has recently been injured in a bicycle
accident that was not your fault, allow a Washington, DC personal injury
lawyer from Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. to review your
case and determine if you may be eligible to recover compensation.
Call (202) 644-8303 for a FREE consultation.