Bicycles make for a great way to get around. They are a terrific form of physical exercise, and they are eco-friendly.
But there is one major downside that comes with bike riding: the lack of safety for the rider.
When riding a bike, you do not have the shell of a car to protect you. And because bikes are so small, it can be easy for them to fall into drivers’ blindsides. When accidents occur, they can be quite serious.
If you were injured in a bike accident, you need a good lawyer on your side. He or she will see to it that you get the compensation you deserve.
Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP has years of experience with personal injury and bicycle accidents in the Montour County, PA area. Read on to find out how we will make sure your rights are protected.
Bike Accident Statistics in Pennsylvania
Bike accidents are all too common of an occurrence, especially in a busy state like Pennsylvania. Here are some 2014 statistics to consider.
- 25% of riders injured or killed in a bike accident are children.
- 15.5% of riders injured or killed in a bike accident are between the ages of 15 and 19.
- Most bike accidents happen during daylight hours but 47% of bike accident fatalities occur after dark.
- Most bike accidents occur at intersections, but most cyclist deaths happen away from intersections.
- Bicyclists are more likely to become injured at areas where there is no traffic control, but they are more likely to be killed in areas where traffic devices are present.
What are the Most Common Causes of Bike Accidents?
Bike accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common.
Failing to Leave an Adequate Buffer: It is advisable to leave a buffer of 2-3 seconds when following cars, but if you are following a bike, that should increase to 3-4 seconds due to the fact that bikes don’t move as quickly. Many cars do not take this into account resulting in a hazardous situation.
Road Debris: A bike’s smaller size means that road debris can lead to serious injuries. If the debris is caused by a nearby construction site, the city or contractor may be liable for damages.
Unsafe Lane Changes: Because bikes are so small, it is easy for them to fall into a driver’s blindside. If a driver does not see a bike next to them and tries to get over, they can end up running the rider off the road.
Weaving in and Out of Lanes: Bicycle accidents are not always the driver’s fault. Bicyclists often weave in and out of lanes to get to their destinations faster. This is a dangerous way of driving and is illegal in most states.
Equipment Failure: Equipment failure may occur on either the bike or the vehicle causing a dangerous driving situation. If it occurs on the vehicle, the car manufacturer or mechanic may be to blame. If the bike gets a flat or the chain comes off, several factors will have to be reviewed to determine the at fault party.
Other Illegal Actions: Other illegal actions on the road increase the risk of bike accidents including driving intoxicated, driving fatigued, disobeying traffic lights and signs, driving distracted, speeding, and more.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Because bikers have little protection when they are riding, it is not uncommon for them to become seriously injured when an accident occurs. Here are some of the most common bicycle accident injuries:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord Injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Wrongful death
Determining Fault in a Bike Accident
Because cars are bigger than bikes, it may seem as if they are at fault for accidents. However, this is not always the case.
A bicyclist may perform illegal moves while riding or they may not wear protective gear causing them to incur more substantial injuries. In these situations, the bicyclist may be at fault or both parties may be at fault.
If both parties are at fault, compensation will be determined accordingly.
Say the jury finds that the bicyclist was 30% responsible for the accident and total damages equal $100,000. In this case, the rider may be eligible to collect up to $70,000, the full amount less the 30%.
If the bicyclist is found to be 51% or more responsible for damages, he or she would not be able to collect any compensation.
At fault laws would apply to the driver of the vehicle as well.
Bicycle Laws in Pennsylvania
It is important to know the rules of the road as they apply to bikers before they start riding. Here are the laws Pennsylvania has in effect.
- Bicyclists may not ride two abreast unless they are on a part of the road designated for bikes.
- Bicyclists should maintain a distance of at least four feet from parked cars, so they do not get hit if a car door opens unexpectedly.
- Bicyclists may not ride on freeways.
- Bicyclists must obey the rules of the road as a car would.
- Bicyclists must use hand signals to indicate they are making a turn or changing lanes.
- Bicyclists are typically not permitted to ride on the sidewalk.
- Bicyclists are recommended but not required to say on the right of the road and move with the flow of traffic.
- Riders under 12 must wear a helmet. Older riders are not required to wear a helmet, but it is recommended.
- Bikes must have brakes that will stop the bike within 15 feet when riding 15 mph on a dry, level road.
- Some municipalities require the bike to be equipped with a bell or similar device.
Why Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP are the Best Choice for Your Pennsylvania Bike Accident
Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP has extensive experience in Montour County, PA bike accident law. We are known for our terrific service and affordable rates. We will see to it that you get the best outcome possible.
A bike accident can greatly reduce quality of life. Do not let at fault drivers get away with it. Call Luschas, Naparsteck & Crane, LLP for a free consultation. We will see to it that justice is served.