An Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney Will Make A World Of Difference In Your Recovery
Bicycles are an economical and fun way to get around the Salt Lake City area. What could be better than cheap transportation that works your muscles and allows you to fill your lungs with fresh mountain air? However, people who depend on cycling to get around the city will tell you they have near-misses with cars on a daily basis.
Even when following the rules of the road, bicyclists risk being hit by careless drivers who can’t be bothered to give them space or who fail to see them crossing a street. Even when cyclists take every safety precaution, they are in danger of being seriously injured or even killed on Utah roads. To make matters worse, they often don’t get a fair shake when taking on the offending driver’s insurance company.
What Do Drivers Do to Cause Accidents?
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, nearly 800 bicyclists are killed and 40,000 are injured every year in the U.S. Many of these victims are under the age of 20. While only one percent of trips taken annually are on bicycles, bicycle crashes account for two percent of all traffic fatalities and two percent of all traffic injuries, making it the most dangerous form of transportation.
While some of these accidents are the fault of a careless bike rider, it is driver error that does the most damage. The most common mistakes drivers make around bicycles include the following:
- Turning in front of a bicyclist. Whether a cyclist is traveling on a sidewalk or on the side of a road, a driver must let him pass before executing a right-hand turn. Very often, motorists underestimate the speed of a bike and think they can beat it to the turn. These crashes often occur at intersections when a bike is traveling straight through a green light, but a car is turning right, or when a car is turning into a driveway and fails to see an approaching bicycle.
- Failing to look out. Distracted drivers often fail to adequately scan their surroundings for other vehicles and, especially, for pedestrians and bicycles. These accidents often happen in parking lots, at stop signs, when backing up, and when parking on the street.
- Turning right on red. While drivers may look for oncoming cars before making a right turn at a red light, they often fail to see bicycles coming from the left or those next to them stopped at the light.
- Driving too fast for conditions. A motorist who is unable to stop or turn to avoid a bicycle entering a road or sharing his lane due to high speeds is a major threat to the safety of cyclists.
- Overtaking a bicycle without seeing it. An impaired or distracted driver may fail to see a bicycle sharing his lane and sideswipe the bike, knocking the rider off.
- Passing a bicycle. Even when a driver clearly sees a bicycle on the road, if he does not give the bike enough room, he can hit the bike. Passing a bicycle should be just like passing a car—wait until you are clear to change lanes and pass.
If a driver made any of these errors and hit you while you were riding a bicycle, you may have a fight on your hands to prove it. Motorists almost always claim that the cyclist was to blame, simply because many drivers don’t believe bicycles have a right to be on the road in traffic. An experienced bicycle accident attorney knows how to go about proving a cyclist’s claim and will help you win the settlement you need to cover your medical treatment.
Injuries Resulting From Bike Crashes
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, bicycle crash victims most often suffer injury to their upper—fingers, hands, wrists, and arms—and lower—feet, ankles, and legs—extremities, followed by head and facial injuries. Common traumatic injuries suffered by cyclists include injuries to the:
- Head. Even when wearing a helmet, a cyclist can experience a skull fracture, concussion, brain contusion, or intracranial hemorrhage.
- Face or eyes. Contusions, facial fractures, dental fractures, and corneal foreign bodies are frequently diagnosed following a bike crash.
- Musculoskeletal system. Multiple bones in the body can be fractured or dislocated and tendons and ligaments can be strained, resulting in long-term recoveries.
- Chest. A traumatic crash can result in rib fractures and parenchymal lung injury.
- Abdomen. Abdominal injuries such as splenic rupture, hepatic laceration, renal contusion, pancreatic trauma, vascular perforation, small or large bowel contusion, rupture, and traumatic hernia can be life-threatening.
- Skin and soft tissue. Often called road rash, abrasions resulting from sliding on the pavement can lead to serious infection and a need for skin grafts. Contusions and lacerations can also occur.
No matter what your injuries are, you will need medical care that could be ongoing. You need a financial settlement that will cover whatever treatment you need to get back on your feet. The insurance company may make you a quick offer, but you are always better off working with an attorney to maximize your settlement.
Call Attorney William Enoch Andrews
William Enoch Andrews only handles personal injury cases. Whether you were injured in a car or truck accident or while on your bicycle, Mr. Andrews has the experience to take on the guilty party and his insurance company and win big for you. Call any time to schedule a free review of your case.