Spring is here, and that means bicycle enthusiasts are out in full force. Whether it be for exercise, camaraderie, fresh air, or a mode of transportation, Central Pennsylvania’s long winding roads and beautiful scenery draws cyclists from near and far—but unfortunately for some, those leisurely bike rides turn tragic.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports preventable bike accident fatalities begin to rise through during the spring and summer months, with a peak in August.
What can be done to reduce the number of bike accident fatalities and what should we know if we’re involved in a bicycle accident?
Here’s a look.
Bike Accident Injuries
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 846 bicyclists died as the result of a collision in 2020, and nearly 415,000 others were sent to emergency rooms to be treated for their injuries.
Here are a few other statistics surrounding bike accidents in PA:
- According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the total number of bike crashes has decreased over the last several years. But the total number of fatalities were on the rise between 2019 and 2020.
- Bicyclists between the ages of 20-34 have the highest rate of both crashes and fatalities among all other age groups.
- In PA, the majority of bicyclists’ injuries and fatalities happened during daylight hours.
- In Pennsylvania, bicycle fatalities account for 2% of all traffic fatalities.
- The National Safety Council says the number of preventable bicycle transportation deaths increased 37% over the last decade.
- Not surprising, a bicyclist is more likely to be injured or killed in a collision where the vehicle was speeding.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a bicycle crash that resulted in an injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. A personal injury case can help you recover fees for your medical bills, lost wages, and even pain and suffering.
Bicyclist and Motorists Can Share the Road Safely
Most accidents are preventable when everyone is being safe. Here are some pointers as we head into the busier months for bicyclists:
- Be Prepared When hitting the road on your bike, plan your route before you leave for your destination. Check to see if there is a bike lane, and if not, if there is room for you to safely pedal in traffic. Check your bicycle to make sure the tires are properly inflated, and the brakes are working as intended. It’s always good to check the weather forecast as well to ensure you will not encounter poor weather and hazardous conditions.
- Wear Proper Safety Equipment and Clothing Many bike accidents occur when a motorist did not see the bicyclist for various reasons. Do what you can to make yourself visible to motorists – wear bright clothing, preferably with reflective gear if you are traveling at dawn or dusk. Wear a properly fitting helmet too to reduce your risk of a head injury in a collision. Tuck your shoelaces into your shoes to prevent them from getting caught in the gears.
- Stay Sober One in four fatal bicycle crashes involved a bicyclist who had been drinking. Operating a bike takes coordination, concentration, and a clear mind. Never drink and bike.
- Drive Defensively When pedaling your bike, the same rules of the road apply to you as a motorist. Always go in the same direction as traffic and obey all traffic signs. Always assume a motorist cannot see you and maneuver your bike appropriately. Stay alert for potential hazards or situations that can cause you to lose control.
- Stay Alert Because bikes are much smaller than vehicles, they are easy to miss if you are not paying attention. If you encounter a bicyclist, do not underestimate their speed and yield to them as if they were driving a car. Always search your surroundings including parking lots, stop signs, and especially if you are backing up.
- Check Your Mirrors Check – and double-check – your mirrors for bicyclists, even if you are parked. Some collisions occur when a motorist opens their car door, and a bicyclist doesn’t have enough time or a safe space to move out of the way.
- Pay Attention to the Bike Lane Many cities now have bikes lanes to provide bicyclists with a safe area to travel. If you are a motorist, do not use the bike lane, and if you have to cross over it to make a turn, check your surroundings. Always do a shoulder check when making a right turn.
If you were involved in a bike accident and were injured, you may have a personal injury case. Bike accident injuries can quickly become expensive, and your case can help you recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and related damages. Before talking to the insurance company of the at-fault driver, consult with a personal injury law firm to understand your rights.
What to Do if You Are in a Bicycle Accident
Knowing what to do after a bike crash can make a world of difference when it comes to protecting your rights. If you are in an accident with a motorist, or someone you know is in a bike accident, here are steps to take:
- Call 911 Even if you feel ok and there is minimal or no damage to your bike, still call 911. Let the police document the accident and record facts that can be helpful in a personal injury case.
- Seek Medical Treatment Some minor bike crashes can cause injuries that are not immediately apparent such as a concussion or an internal injury. At the scene, let the EMT examine you for injuries and follow up with your primary care physician after the accident, even if you feel immediately okay. Your doctor will document your current health conditions and monitor you for any current or future complications.
- Document the Scene If you are able, document as much as possible at the scene. Take pictures of where your bike rests after the accident, the intersection or road where it occurred, road signage, and damage to both your bike and the vehicle. If there were witnesses to the accident, get their contact information. Ask for the driver’s contact information as well as their insurance info.
- Call a Personal Injury Lawyer A personal injury law firm specializes in bike accident injury cases and having an experienced team on your side can help you recover compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Bike Accident Attorneys in York, Pa.
At the law offices of Dale E. Anstine, we understand how stressful an injury accident can be not only for the victim but also for their family members.
Injuries associated with these types of accidents can result in weeks, months, or even years of rehabilitation. If you were injured, your main focus should be on your health, not on a personal injury case. Reach out to our team and allow us to focus on recovering compensation for you.
We have been representing injured workers, drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians for decades and have the knowledge, expertise, and insight into how the legal system works. Reach out today for a free consultation by visiting our website and starting a live chat, by filling out a contact form, or by calling us at 717-846-0606. We never charge a fee for our time and are only compensated when we win your case.