Because cyclists have little protection, bicycle accidents are considered some of the most dangerous in the world. There are countless causes of bicycle accidents and many different levels of injuries result from these crashes. Regardless of how the accident occurs, where it occurs, or what the initial cause was, it’s important to understand your rights. Leading Causes of Bicycle Accidents According to the most recent data available, nearly 19,000 cyclists are injured or killed each year. In 2012, the numbers included 15,751 slightly injured, 3,222 seriously injured, and 118 killed. While carelessness of children is often believed to account for most injuries, 80 percent actually involved adults. Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
Bad Weather. Poor weather conditions are one of the major causes of accidents. Because bicycles lack the traction of more stable vehicles and riders are exposed to the elements without protection, inclement weather can prove to be a very real danger for cyclists. Heavy wind, slick roads, and poor visibility can all cause accidents. Going Unseen. Because drivers are usually not looking for cyclists, they often go unnoticed or unseen. This is especially true at night or on winding roads with major blind spots. Attempting to Pass. Even when drivers know a cyclist is on the road, there are potential dangers. Another common cause of bicycle accidents is when drivers attempt to pass a cyclist and clip, hit, or force the cyclist off the road. Common Bicycle Accident Injuries Bicycle accidents can be violent and forceful, resulting in any number or combination of injuries. While emergency rooms report a wide variety of injuries, here are a few of the most common: Head Injuries. Regardless of whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, head injuries can occur. These are usually the result of trauma caused by impact with another vehicle or the ground. While some head injuries are minor lacerations or small fractures, more serious instances include brain trauma and concussion. Broken Bones. It is not uncommon for cyclists to suffer broken or fractured bones as the result of a cycling accident. These most often occur in the limbs (40 percent suffer arm injuries, while 25 percent suffer leg injuries), back, wrist, or collarbone. Road Rash. When a cyclist is thrown across the pavement, resulting injuries often include road rash and burns. These burns can be very minimal or serious, sometimes resulting in permanent scarring. How to Respond If you’ve been injured in a cycling accident, it’s important to seek medical attention and legal assistance as soon as possible. Cycling injuries can be serious and may require procedures or extended care. You should never attempt to ignore an injury or avoid a professional medical evaluation.