Preventing Catastrophic Bicycle Accidents
Only 1 percent of trips are taken by bicycle in the United States. Nevertheless, bicyclists face a higher risk of accident-related injuries and fatalities than occupants of motor vehicles do. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013, more than 900 bicyclists were killed and nearly 500,000 emergency department visits were made for bicycle-related injuries. Unfortunately, most of these injuries and deaths involved young children or bicyclists who were not wearing safety gear, such as helmets.
Despite these shocking statistics, bicycles are continuing to rise as an attractive and alternative mode of transportation across the country. Although riders cannot completely avoid getting into an accident, they can reduce the likelihood of a catastrophic accident if they follow the proper rules of the road and take safety precautions into consideration.
Bicycle Safety Rules
Below are some safety rules that may help bicyclists avoid or at least reduce the likelihood of getting into an accident while riding:
- Ride on the right side of the road
- Ride with the flow of traffic
- Remain alert for other cars on the road that may pull out of driveways
- Do not ride on the sidewalk
- Use hand signals to change lanes, make turns or come to a full stop
- Obey the rules of the road – they do not apply only to motorists but to every individual who is sharing the road
- Ride your bicycle in a straight line
- Wear bright clothing while riding during the day and reflective clothing while riding at night
- Make sure your bicycle has a white headlight and red tail reflectors if riding at night
- See and be seen by other drivers on the road
- Wear a properly fitted helmet
- Maintain a safe distance, usually a car door’s length, away from parked vehicle to avoid getting “doored”
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Even if a bicyclist follows all of these tips, he or she may still get into an accident and suffer a serious injury. Some common bicycle accident injuries include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Neck or back injuries
- Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries
- Lacerations, bruises or scarring
- Internal organ injuries
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle-related accident that was caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another party, you should immediately consult with an experienced bicycle accident attorney to protect your legal rights and ensure that you obtain the full compensation that you are entitled to. An aggressive attorney will investigate the specific facts of your case and determine who is responsible for your injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and other expenses that you suffered as a result of the accident.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a New Jersey bicycle accident attorney, please call the Law Offices of Dan T. Matrafajlo at (908) 248-4404.