Whether it’s the mountains, shore, beach and boardwalk, or just around town, one of the most enjoyable activities during the warm weather, is getting out and riding a bicycle. It’s an activity that became a rite of passage during our youth, and one we’ve done so often that we feel safe and don’t associate with danger. Yet, approximately 800 bicyclists die each year from accident-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority, 73 percent, being adult men. There are also approximately about 500,000 emergency room visits each year due to bicycle accidents. The most common victims in bicycle accidents are children; approximately 60 percent of all bike-related injuries seen in hospital emergency rooms involve people age 15 or younger.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents:
1. Motor Vehicles - With increased traffic congestion, bicyclists are sharing the roads with more motor vehicles, and collisions between bicyclists and motor vehicles can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- Cars or trucks turning in front of bicycle riders.
- Texting or using cell phones while driving.
- Motor vehicles making turns in the middle of a block or intersection.
- Drivers failing to see cyclists in their lane.
- Drivers using lanes designated for bicyclists
- Drivers failing to yield the right-of-way to cyclists.
- Alcohol, drugs, fatigue.
And, what about the comfort you feel when you buy a new bicycle, then the store has it’s young, inexperienced employee assemble it for you?
3. Animals, Water/Oil, Potholes, Road Debris – Any of these things can cause you to lose control, fall from the bike, or steer into traffic.
Over the years, I’ve handled some very serious accident cases, involving bicycles, that caused severe injuries, including: brain damage, paralysis, fractures and scarring. Obviously, people aren’t going to stop riding bicycles, and I would never suggest that. Everything enjoyable in life has risks. But, try and minimize those risks:
1. Don’t ride where there’s a lot of traffic, or where the roadway is very narrow;
2. Always ride where the road or path is well lit;
3. Always wear a “good” helmet and other safety gear;
4. Learn how to inspect a bicycle;
4. If you don’t have the knowledge to be able to inspect a bicycle, before you ride any bike with which you’re not familiar, and don’t know its structural integrity, assembly, repairs or maintenance history, have someone who has the knowledge check to it out or, at the very least, ride the bike for a period of time in a safe area to make sure everything is working properly.
If you or a family member have been injured in an accident involving a bicycle, call my office for a free consultation. We’ll investigate the accident to see what really caused it, whether it’s a motor vehicle, or a defect, assembly, maintenance or repair issue.
All the Best!
Randy C. Redden