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Bicycle Accidents

Washington, DC Bicycle
Accident Attorney

Protecting the Rights of Injured Bicyclists

We are a proud sponsor of the WABA

Washington Area Bicyclist Association

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 a 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 where 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 obtaining 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
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation
  • 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.