Common Causes of Bike Accidents
Biking is a popular mode of transportation and a fun way to stay active, but it also comes with risks. Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of cyclists are injured in bike accidents, and tragically, hundreds lose their lives in fatal bicycle accidents. Collisions with motor vehicles are the most common cause of bicycle-related fatalities, underscoring the need for increased safety measures and awareness on the roads.
If you’re a cyclist or simply interested in bike safety, it’s crucial to understand how bike accidents occur. By knowing what to watch out for and taking steps to protect yourself, you can reduce your risk of injury and enjoy all the benefits of biking.
What Are The Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Bicycle accidents are a common occurrence, and they can be very serious. Understanding the most common causes of these accidents is key to preventing them from happening in the first place. You need to know what to look out for when cycling on roads or trails, as well as how to stay safe while riding your bike. Here are some of the most common causes of bicycle crashes:
Cyclists should always wear bright clothing, use lights at night and during dusk/dawn hours, and make sure their bikes have reflectors that are visible from all angles so other drivers can easily see them.
Drivers who aren’t paying attention due to talking on their phones or texting while behind the wheel pose a huge risk for cyclists since they may not be able to react quickly enough if something unexpected happens on the road ahead of them. Driver fatigue increases the risk of distracted driving or even falling asleep at the wheel.
Drivers who are speeding, driving recklessly, or engaging in other dangerous behaviors can put cyclists in danger. The faster a car is traveling, the less time the driver has to react and brake if they encounter a cyclist on the road.
Lack of Bicycle Lane Infrastructure
Many roads aren’t designed with bicyclists in mind, which means cyclists need to share the road with other motorists. Without dedicated bike lanes, cyclists may find themselves riding close to cars and trucks that could put them in danger.
Potholes, uneven surfaces, debris in bike lanes, etc., can all cause an accident if a cyclist isn’t prepared for it or doesn’t take extra caution upon approach.
Intersections with multiple streets crossing one another can lead to confusion among drivers, which could lead to an accident.
Rain, snow, and icy roads can make it harder for cyclists to stop quickly or take turns safely.
Drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs are more likely to drift into bike lanes and less likely to be able to react quickly if something unexpected happens.
As with any motor vehicle, drivers of other vehicles must always be aware of their surroundings and take extra caution when near cyclists.
Malfunctioning brakes or other components can cause a bicycle to become uncontrollable, leading to a bicycle accident. Therefore, it’s important to regularly inspect the condition of your bike and make sure all components are in proper working order.
Common Causes Specific to Washington DC
Poor Road Conditions
In some areas, roads in DC are more worn or have more potholes than other cities due to such high traffic, so cyclists should always take extra caution when riding in the area and ensure their bike is equipped with proper shocks or suspension.
With many drivers commuting during peak hours, there is a higher risk of an accident due to drivers not paying attention or being in a hurry.
Poor Bike Lane Design
Bike lanes in DC can sometimes be unclear or narrow, increasing the risk of accidents. In DC, the bike lane infrastructure is incomplete, leaving cyclists to share the roads with other vehicles.
Cyclists should always double-check for cars before entering bike lanes and keep far away from vehicles. When bicyclists get in the path of motor vehicles, it can result in fatal accidents.
Understanding the common causes of bicycle accidents can help cyclists take the necessary steps to stay safe and ride responsibly.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, a total of 843 bicyclists were killed in traffic collisions.
- Of those fatalities, 27% were between the ages of children under 16 and adults over 65, respectively.
- Most fatalities (53%) occurred at non-intersections, while 47% happened at intersections.
- Further, male cyclists made up 87% of the fatalities, while 13% were female.
- Although bicyclists make up only 2% of those injured or killed in traffic crashes, they are at a significantly higher risk of severe injuries or fatalities due to the lack of protection they have compared to motor vehicle drivers. Most bike accidents lead to injury.
- In 2019, there were 49,000 bicyclists injured in collisions, a 6% increase from the 45,000 bicyclists injured in 2018.
Common Bicycle Injuries
Bicycling accidents can result in serious injuries due to the lack of protection cyclists have compared to other motorists. Common bicycle accident injuries include:
– Head and neck trauma
– Dental Injuries
– Broken bones
– Spinal cord trauma
– Internal organ damage
– Road rash
– Bruises, scrapes, and abrasions
– Soft tissue injuries
– Cuts and lacerations
– Concussions/traumatic brain injuries
How to Reduce the Risk of a Bicycle Accident
Bicycle riders can take various steps to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident.
- Wear a helmet
- Yield to oncoming traffic
- Follow traffic laws and signals
- Make sure your bike is properly equipped with lights and reflectors
- Be aware of your surroundings on the road or bike path
- Use extra caution when riding near busy intersections
- Use extra caution when riding near parked cars car dor
- Avoid riding in bad weather conditions
- Do not ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Ride defensively, and be aware of drivers and their blind spots. Often, a crash happens because drivers fail to see a bicyclist.
Motorists should be extra cautious when driving near cyclists. This can include:
- Yielding to cyclists at intersections
- Being aware of your blind spots
- Leaving a safe distance when passing a cyclist
- Avoiding distractions and remaining attentive to your surroundings. Always obeying traffic laws, including speed limits
- Keeping an eye out for cyclists in your path
Who is At Fault in a Bicycle Accident?
It can be difficult to determine fault in a bicycle accident due to the many factors that can contribute to an accident.
Bicyclists are often held responsible if they fail to follow traffic laws or do not equip their bikes with reflectors and lights. Motorists may be liable if they fail to yield to cyclists, drive recklessly, or check their blind spots.
In many cases, both parties may be held liable. We recommend consulting a bicycle accident lawyer to determine the best course of action and maximize the chances of securing compensation for damages.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident? We Can Help
Bicycle accidents happen all too often. A personal injury attorney at Chaikin, Sherman Cammarata, & Siegel P.C. is here to help cyclists and motorists involved in a bicycle accident. Seeking financial compensation can be a significant aspect of the recuperation process for bicyclists who have been injured. We understand the complexities of these cases and can guide you through your bicycle accident case.
If you or someone close to you has suffered an injury due to a bicycle accident, contact us for a free consultation today.