For many riders, bicycling is a way of life. For others, it’s a fun way to get around that’s earth-friendly and it’s also great exercise. Unfortunately, bicyclists face risks anytime they go for a ride. There are some common causes of bicycle accidents that both cyclists and drivers both need to be aware of.
Even though bicycles riders are given the same rights and privileges as those driving motor vehicles, many drivers treat bicyclists as annoyances rather than fellow drivers. Drivers still have a legal obligation to share the road and avoid conflicts with cyclists.
Because a bicycle offers no protection, accidents on a bicycle can leave cyclists with painful, debilitating injuries that can be far worse than those acquired in a car accident. Also because drivers tend to have such a limited understanding of rules of the road when it comes to cyclists, drivers and their insurance companies tend to blame the cyclist for the accident rather than their own negligence.
For the injured rider, financial compensation becomes an important part of recovery. Injuries from bicycle accidents could be very expensive and lead to medical expenses, limited mobility, lost wages, chronic pain, and other problems that need compensation. Even minor injuries can leave a rider with months of recovery and rehabilitation before they can return to their life and go back to work.
But to seek damages from the other party, you must first find the cause of the accident. This will involve working with a bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible to investigate your accident.
The leading cause of bicycle accidents is driver negligence. Specifically, the drivers do not notice a bicyclist or choose to ignore them. In too many cases, the accident is “hit and run,” meaning the vehicle driver leaves the scene of the accident before the bicyclist can get their contact or insurance information.
Other causes of bicycle accidents include:
• Drivers that follow too close and do not leave adequate space between themselves and the cyclist. This creates an unnecessarily dangerous scenario, increasing the chances that the driver will hit a cyclist and leaving them with fewer options to avoid collisions with either the bicycle or other vehicles.
• Speeding decreases the driver’s stopping time and reaction time leaving less time to make decisions when the driver realizes there is a bicyclist. Even accidents at low speeds can be very dangerous for a cyclist.
• Drivers weaving through traffic tend to miss the cyclists sharing the road. It also decreases a driver’s chance of a successful evasive maneuver. Drivers who are weaving frequently move outside of the traffic lanes onto shoulders and bike lanes, unfortunately frequently hitting bicyclists.
• Unsafe lane changes can also lead to a collision with an unseen or unnoticed bicyclist.
• “Dooring,” in which a driver opens a car door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist, causing a rider to slam into the open door and sustain serious injuries.
• Running red lights and turning without checking. Drivers frequently believe that if they have the green light, they have the legal right to turn without checking for bicyclists and pedestrians. Unfortunately, this is a common cause of bicycle accidents. Drivers who ignore a stop sign or a red light can also plow into a cyclist or a pedestrian because they did not check for them first.
• Drivers who get behind the wheel after even one drink or when extremely fatigued have similar reaction times with predictable results. In both cases, they are at a significantly higher risk for causing a collision with a bicycle, a pedestrian, or another motor vehicle.
• Road conditions can be a cause of an accident. If a road has cracks, potholes, or other obstructions, this can lead to a driver being surprised and unfortunately crash with a bicyclist, pedestrian or other vehicle. Sometimes the rider could crash on their own so they need to be aware of road conditions as well.
All these causes can be traced to negligence. In a motor vehicle accident, the fault can lie with the driver. However, road conditions may also be the fault of the governmental agency tasked with keeping them in good condition. Whatever the circumstances, you should consult with a Charleston Bicycle accident attorney immediately to learn if you would be entitled to compensation.
Charleston’s Bicycle Accident Attorney
We hope that you are never involved in a bicycling accident. Whether you are out for a leisurely ride or a regular cycling enthusiast, we always recommend the use of a helmet. A helmet can save your life even if you have other injuries.
If you’ve been in a bicycle accident in Charleston, WV, you may not be at fault. We can help you recover damages after someone else’s negligence so you can heal and take care of yourself. 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 for you.