Bicycling is great for physical health and it’s an environmentally friendly way to get around. However, it can also be dangerous.
When riding on a bicycle, you have very little protection. Riding in the streets with large cars and trucks makes bicyclists prone to incidents that have dire consequences.
If you were involved in a bicycle accident, the team at Bloomsburg, PA’s Luschas, Naparasteck & Crane can get you the justice you deserve.
Bicycle accidents happen more often than we’d like to believe. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 52,000 bicyclists are injured and 716 are killed a year as a result of being involved in a traffic accidents. 69% of those accidents occur in busy urban areas.
In a busy state like Pennsylvania, there are plenty of opportunities for bicycle accidents to occur. In 2008, there were 28 deaths in New Jersey and Pennsylvania alone.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
With bicycles leaving riders virtually unprotected, serious injuries can occur. Here are some of the most common.
Traumatic Brain Injuries: Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI’s) are common in a bicycle accident. Bicyclists can easily go over the handlebars and hit their head on the pavement or a nearby object or vehicle. These types of injuries are serious in nature and can range from concussions to permanent mental disabilities.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Riders may fall off their bikes or have their head snapped back during impact resulting in spinal cord injuries that can result in ongoing pain and even paralysis.
Broken Bones: During an accident, bicyclists can incur fractures that can be serious in nature. While some fractures heal within weeks, other can require reconstructive surgery. Depending on where the fracture occurs, victims may also suffer with nerve pain and immobilization and may require ongoing therapy.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycles are not large vehicles. It is easy for them to fall into driver’s blind spots making them difficult to spot. This becomes a real problem when drivers are trying to turn or switch lanes, especially when they don’t have their full attention on the road.
Here are some common causes of bicycle accidents:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to check rearview and blind spots before making a turn or changing lanes
- Disobeying traffic signs
- Potholes and unsafe road conditions
Bicycle Laws in Pennsylvania
While drivers are often at fault for bicycle accidents, bicyclists may also be responsible if they don’t obey the rules of the road. Here are some rules they must abide by.
- Bicyclists may not ride two abreast unless they are on a part of the roadway designated for bikes
- Bicyclists should allow four feet of distance between themselves and parked cars to avoid being hit when a car door opens
- Bicycles are not to be ridden on freeways
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic rules and signs
- Bicyclists must use hand signals to let drivers know they are turning or changing lanes
- Bicyclists are not allowed on the sidewalk in most locations
- It is not recommended but not required that bicyclists stay to the right of traffic and ride with the flow of traffic
- Individuals under 12 must wear a helmet when riding a bike at all times. Older riders are not required to wear a helmet, but it is recommended
- Bikes must be equipped with brakes that will stop the bike 15 feet when riding at a speed of 15 mph on dry, level pavement
- Some municipalities require that bikes be equipped with a bell or a similar device
Here are some laws that motorists must obey when driving near a bicyclist:
- Motorists must allow 4 feet of distance when overtaking a bicycle and maintain a safe speed when doing so. Maintaining distance is the responsibility of the driver, not the cyclist.
- Motorists may not open their doors into the road before making sure no bicyclists are coming and that it is otherwise safe to do so.
Other Safety Tips
Here are some other tips bicyclists will want to take into consideration to keep safe while riding:
- Make yourself noticeable by wearing bright colors and reflective materials.
- Put reflectors on the front and rear of your bike (this is required when riding at night)
- Maintain your bike to avoid dangerous brake-downs due to faulty equipment
Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane Can Represent You in Your Pennsylvania Bicycle Accident
If you are injured in a bicycle accident, you can experience injuries that greatly reduce quality of life. The right lawyer will see to it that you get the justice you deserve.
Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane w will collect all relevant evidence and work tirelessly to see to it that you are compensated for lost wages, medical expenses and emotional pain and suffering. With over 40 years dealing with bicycle accident and personal injury law, we have a track record for getting our clients the best outcomes possible.
A bicycle accident is no laughing matter. Don’t let at fault parties get away with taking away years of your life. Call Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane to get the justice you deserve.