What Causes Bicycle Accidents?
Bicycle accidents can be caused by various factors, such as poor road conditions, low visibility, cyclist inexperience, or swerving to miss an animal or object. By far the most common, however, is being struck by another vehicle.
Bicycles being hit by a car or other vehicle accounted for over 800 deaths in 2019. As for non-fatalities, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported an estimated 417,485 emergency room visits related to bicycle accidents.
Although a bicycle is classified under law as a vehicle in its own right, the sheer size difference between a bike and a car is enough to understand how serious these accidents can be.
When Do Bicycle Accidents Usually Happen?
The summer months continue to be the most dangerous time for cyclists. The fact that there are more cyclists on the road during the warmer months increases the probability of an accident. The highest number of deaths in 2019 occurred in August, while the fewest were reported in January.
Visibility is almost certainly a compounding factor, with the majority of deaths (regardless of season) occurring in the evening between 6pm and 9pm.
How Can You Avoid Being in a Bicycle Accident?
Avoid the City
Most bicycle accidents occur in highly urbanized areas-that is, those with lots of traffic. They also occur, as mentioned above, in the evening hours. You can significantly reduce your chances of being in an accident by riding in the daylight and sticking to more rural trails.
Wear a Helmet
It should also go without saying that you should wear protective gear. Colorado law does not require that cyclists wear helmets, so you cannot be considered negligible in the event of an accident if you were not wearing one. Keep in mind, however, that a proper-fitting helmet can reduce your chance of brain injury by up to 85 percent.
If you are driving at night or with low visibility, make sure you have a functioning headlight and reflective tail light. It’s also a good idea to wear reflective clothing.
Practice Defensive Driving
Obey all traffic signals and go with the flow of traffic. Never assume that someone sees you, and look ahead for road hazards. It’s also best to avoid listening to music or texting on your bike.
**Colorado law permits the use of mobile devices, headphones, and even texting while cycling. Use caution.
What Injuries Can Happen in a Bicycle Accident?
The injuries sustained in a bicycle accident will depend on a few factors, including the type of vehicle(s) involved, the location of the incident, and whether or not the cyclist was wearing a helmet. Some of the more common injuries reported include:
- Broken bones
- Cuts, bruises, or road rash (abrasion)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial/jaw injuries
- Tooth injuries
- Head injuries/concussions
Are Cyclists Ever At Fault in An Accident?
Yes. There are certain circumstances when a cyclist can be considered negligible, and potentially the cause, of an accident. In these cases, he/she/they may be unable to seek damages for property, medical, or other costs. The two most common reasons a cyclist may be found at fault in an accident are:
- The cyclist was found to be intoxicated
- The cyclist was found in violation of traffic laws?
Cycling laws will vary according to state. For more information on bicycle laws in Colorado, click here.
What Should You Do If You Are in a Bicycle Accident?
The first thing to do in a bicycle accident is get to safety. Once you are safe and receiving medical attention for any injuries, you may wish to seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney.
Bicycle accidents can cause significant physical and emotional pain. Even if you are found partially at fault as a cyclist, comparative negligence laws in Colorado may allow for you to seek damages. If you have been injured while on your bike due to the negligence of another driver, Roth Group may be able to help you. Call our office or go online to schedule your free evaluation.Â