More than 50 million Americans are riding bicycles, and the numbers continue to climb, as bike sales spiked in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there are benefits to cycling, both in terms of personal health and in environmental responsibility, there are also dangers, as anyone can tell you who has survived a bike accident with an automobile. Between 800 and 900 people die each year in bicycle traffic accidents. Thousands more who do survive suffer serious injuries, including:
- Bone fractures: wrists, hands, hips, feet, arms, and shoulders are particularly vulnerable.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): mild concussions, skull fractures, brain damage.
- Jaw/facial injury: broken jaw, face scrapes, broken nose, eye wounds.
- Road rash: serious and painful skin damage due to friction with road surfaces
- Spinal cord injuries: often causing long-term or permanent disabilities.
- Neck injuries: tendons, vertebrae, nerves, and joints.
- Nerve damage: can impact any part of the body that suffered blunt force.
- Dental injuries: chipped/cracked teeth, etc.
In addition to medical and physical therapy/chiropractic bills, most bike accident victims miss extensive time and work and suffer emotional stress from the experience.
If you’re a victim of an accident that was not your fault, you should seriously consider contacting a bike accident attorney, who can advise you during your recovery from the accident. These attorneys are particularly adept at conducting investigations, interviewing witnesses, communicating and negotiating with insurance companies and the at-fault driver’s attorney, and protecting their client’s interests.
Here’s are recommendations on what to do if you’re a cyclist injured in an accident with an automobile:
- Call 911 and request police assistance.
- Unless you are in immediate need of medical attention, wait for the police to arrive and report what happened.
- Get the driver’s contact information, as well as their driver’s license number, license plate number, make of the car and their insurance policy information.
- If available, collect contact information from other witnesses at the scene.
- Document every detail of the accident. Write down all memories of the accident. Take photos of the scene.
- Within 24-48 hours of the accident, visit a medical professional. Ask for a complete examination.
- Do not talk to insurance companies. In many cases, the automobile driver’s insurance company will try to make a quick settlement offer. In nearly all cases, an insurer’s first offer is its lowest offer.
Hopefully, you won’t be the victim of a bike accident, but if you are, you should consider your options, as an attorney, like a bicycle accident lawyer from a firm such as Patterson Bray, can explain.