Charleston is at the center of some of the best bicycling in the US and is one of the top cycling cities in the US. From a short ride at Little Creek Park to one of the many renovated railroad “Rail Trails,” there’s no shortage of places to ride your bicycle. The City of Charleston also has a master plan for both bicycling and hiking trails. You can also find additional riding trails here and here.
If you ride your bike as an alternative to your car or truck, you’ll quickly become aware of the increased danger of riding around passenger vehicles. In addition to being slower than a car or truck, you’re also very unprotected. If you come in contact with an oncoming car, the results can be devastating.
West Virginia is one of the safest states for bicycling (with Florida as the deadliest state for riders.) But accidents do happen, like this recent one in September, where the driver thought he hit a deer.
If you’re lucky, you may walk away with scraped knees and elbows. But frequently, bicycle accidents leave the rider with severe, and possibly fatal, injuries. If you’re hit by a car while riding, you could suffer more serious injuries, like:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Other head & neck injuries
- Nerve damage
- Joint dislocation
- Soft tissue damage
- Jaw and dental injuries
Safety equipment (like helmets) and safe riding can help you reduce the chance of an accident as well as increase your chances of surviving one.
The Increased Dangers
Let’s face it—a passenger vehicle is bigger, faster and more dangerous than a bike. And the impact is a lot worse for you than it would be for the driver. So the burden is on you to keep watch for drivers who are:
- Turning corners faster (or ignoring stop signs)
- Don’t bother looking around
Wearing A Helmet
If you don’t wear a helmet while riding, you should. West Virginia has no helmet requirement except for riders under 15. However, wearing one at any age increases your chances of surviving an accident by 88%. A helmet is one of the best pieces of safety equipment you can wear.
Additional safety gear can include:
- Padded shorts to help prevent road rash and soft tissue injuries
- Padded gloves to protect hands in the event of a fall
- Reflective clothing and bike lights, to enable drivers to see you better at night
Because West Virginia’s personal injury law includes comparative fault, if you ride helmet-free, you could be assigned some fault for your injuries. Therefore, riding without a helmet can significantly reduce your settlement.
After The Accident
If you’re involved in an accident while riding, medical care is imperative, especially for severe injuries. You will also need to give a statement to the police.
Much like a car accident, you can collect damages from the negligent party such as:
- Medical expenses
- Pain & suffering
- Lost wages
- Property damages
If you’re contacted by the other party’s insurance company, do not sign anything without consulting with a bicycle accident lawyer. You could sign away your rights, and lose out on money you need to take care of yourself.
Charleston’s Bicycle Accident Lawyer
A helmet can save your life, even with other injuries. You may not be at fault, and we can help you recover damages after someone else’s negligence. Call The Love Law Firm at (304) 344-5683 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. We’ll talk with you about your case and discuss your options. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there’s no up-front expense.