In 2008, the most recent year of statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 12 percent of all bicycle related fatalities in traffic crashes involved children between the ages of 5 and 15. The NHTSA also reports that alcohol played a role in about one-third of all bike fatalities in 2008.
Common Biking Accidents
Everybody falls off riding a bicycle at some point in their lives, typically when they are young and first learning how to ride. However, bicycle accidents often are more than just hitting a bump and taking a fall. Some of the most common biking accidents include:
• Not being seen—a motorist doesn’t see a cyclist and turns in front of the rider or cuts the riding off, resulting in an accident. Cyclists often are hit by cars pulling out of driveways, parking lots and street parking spaces by drivers who did not see them.
• Hit by a door—a driver suddenly opens the door of his or her parked vehicle, slamming into a bicycle rider causing an accident.
• Motorist fails to stop—a driver doesn’t see or doesn’t react in time to a bicyclist stopped at an intersection and hits the bike and rider from behind.
• Cyclist fails to obey traffic laws—a cyclist riding against traffic, blowing through stop signs or stoplights and failing to obey other traffic laws can quickly find himself or herself involved in an accident.
Whose fault? Biker or Driver
If the cyclist is hit by a motor vehicle that has run a stop sign or stoplight, then the accident is the driver’s fault. However, if the cyclist fails to obey traffic laws and an accident happens, he or she may be found at fault. Any accident has to be evaluated by trained professionals and may rely on the accounts of eyewitnesses.
Make Safety a Priority
Bicycle accidents are a reality but injuries can be minimized in some cases if safety precautions are used. Everyone riding a bicycle needs to make safety a priority. Head injuries are the most common injury from bike accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 91 percent of bicyclists killed in 2009 reportedly were not wearing helmets. Always wear a proper safety helmet when riding as well as bright clothing to be visible to motorists. Elbow and kneepads can help reduce injuries as well. Never allow young children to ride on the street alone. Always obey all traffic laws and watch for motorists because it is likely they are NOT watching for you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, an attorney may be able to help you navigate insurance and legal issues.
Call the Bicycle Accident Lawyers of Goodin Abernathy for a free consultation.