Millions of people across the country and around the world consider the bicycle as either an alternative mode of transportation or a healthy, recreational activity. While cycling can be great fun and a good form of exercise, it must be said that bicycle accidents can and do happen suddenly and without warning.
Fox News recently reported that U.S. bicycle accident deaths are on the rise. In 2012, over 700 individuals across the U.S. lost their lives in bicycle accidents – representing more than two percent of the total number of injuries and fatalities in traffic crashes in the same year. There were approximately 49,000 bicycle injuries reported in 2012, with hospital records showing that only a small percentage of bicycle accidents causing injury are actually recorded by local authorities.
Cyclists are among the most susceptible on the road and are at great risk for being involved in a bicycle accident. As a cyclist, you are not only exposed to external elements, but are also at risk of being involved in an accident with much larger vehicles on the road.
Unlike motor vehicle drivers and passengers, you do not have the protection offered by airbags, seatbelts, or even a vehicle’s metal frame. Due to very little protection you have, you become much more vulnerable to serious or even fatal injuries. With only two wheels on your bicycle, you may also be more affected by factors such as uneven pavement, excess gravel, and debris, and face the possibility of losing control of your bike and crashing.
Some possible bicycle accident injuries include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Brain injury
- Nerve damage
- Dental and jaw injuries
- Dislocated joints
Riding too fast, losing control, doing tricks, and playing are among the more frequent causes of accidents among child cyclists. Teenage and adult bicycle accidents, however, are more likely to involve accidents with motor vehicles.
As far as the main causes of adult bicycle accidents.. we asked Kansas City personal injury attorney Lawrence Flick who’s firm focuses primarily on vehicle accidents. “Often in vehicle collisions where bicycles are involved the car driver claims that they simply did not see the cyclist… a common scenario is drivers are turning left at an intersection and just don’t see the rider”… says Flick.
Bicycle accident injuries, no matter how minor they seem, are not to be taken lightly. If you or a loved one rides a bicycle, you must always take the necessary precautionary measures to ensure your safety on the road. Always wearing a helmet, for instance, can reduce your chance of certain injuries should you become involved in an accident. Other measures include having proper lighting on your bicycle, especially when riding at night, ensuring your visibility, learning and using hand signals, and paying close attention to your environment when you ride.