Facts and FAQ’s About Bicycle Accidents
How frequent are bicycle injuries and fatalities in the U.S?
The National Centers for Disease Control reports that each year, more than 500,000 people in the US are treated in emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries. More than 700 people die each year as a result of bicycle-related injuries.
What causes bicycle crashes?
Vehicle drivers’ errors or inattention are the most frequent cause of bicycle crashes. Loose gravel on the road and rain-slicked surfaces frequently contributes to crashes. Speed increases risk; cyclists are more likely to sustain serious injury when they are riding fast. Doing stunts on your bicycles also increases the odds of accidents and injury.
How can bicyclists protect themselves?
The simplest and most effective protection is to wear a helmet. Helmets reduce the number of deaths and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and they reduce overall medical costs.
How important are preventive tactics?
Wearing a helmet will not prevent you from being hit by a vehicle. The essential practice of safe bicycling is to be as conspicuous and as predictable as possible so that motorists around always know you are there and can predict what you are going to do.
What is the most dangerous time for bicyclists?
Night is the most dangerous time, because visibility is reduced. Thirty-six per cent of bicycle fatalities occur between 6pm and midnight.
How can I protect myself when I’m biking at night?
Take these steps to increase your visibility: Every bicyclist should have a headlamp, preferably the newer LED (Light Emitting Diode) models, which have a brighter light and draw less power from batteries. Every bicyclist should also have a blinking red rear light. In addition, cyclists traveling at dusk or in the dark should wear a reflective vest with the SMV (slow moving vehicle) triangle on it. Bicyclists’ clothing should be bright colored, with reflective strips, to increase visibility to drivers
Should bicyclists ride with the traffic, or against the traffic?
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center advises that bicyclists should ride with traffic. When you ride against traffic — especially on the sidewalk — you make yourself almost invisible to motorists turning at intersections and driveways who may not be expecting or looking for anyone coming from your direction. About 25% of bicycle/motor vehicle collisions involve a rider who is either riding against traffic and/or riding on the sidewalk.
How can I be sure that my bike is safe?
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that you check your bicycle frequently to make sure that all parts are working right. Get in the habit of checking before you ride. Be sure that the brakes are working, and that there are no loose or broken parts on your bike. Having lights and reflectors that work makes you much more visible in the dark to motorists.
Can I carry a child on my bicycle?
A child riding with you should always wear a helmet. For carrying a child you should mount a special seat that fits behind the main seat, spoke guards to prevent the child’s feet from getting caught in the spokes.
As a bicycle rider in California, what are my responsibilities and rights?
California law views bicyclists as having the same rights and responsibilities as the operators of cars and trucks. The California Vehicle Code governs bicycle riders, and the police deal with bicycle accidents by the same procedures as they use for motor vehicle accidents.
After a bicycle crash, what resources will I have to pay my medical expenses?
Many people will have insurance that will help pay medical bills, either through their health insurance or through the healthcare or the uninsured motorist provision in their automobile Insurance policy. These are called first party benefits, and they are the usual first resource for payment for medical expenses related to a bicycle injury.
If my insurance company pays some of my medical bills after a bicycle accident, and if I then file a lawsuit, when I make a recovery will they be entitled to reimbursement?
Most insurance policies have a contractual provision stipulating that the insurance company has a right to seek recovery for reimbursement.
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