CYCLISTS COLLISIONS WITH VEHICLES
Besides collisions between vehicles, crashes involving cyclists and vehicles are some of the most common types of car accidents. These collisions tend to have especially devastating consequences for cyclists who are far less protected from impact than are drivers who have thousands of pounds of steel between them and the road, in addition to the protections offered by airbags and seat belts. In fact, the CDC estimates that more than 1,000 cyclists are killed every year after colliding with a motorist, while 467,000 more suffer injury.
Although Indiana law does not require cyclists to wear helmets, they are still strongly encouraged to do so. Unfortunately, helmets can only provide so much protection, especially in collisions between cyclists and much larger and heavier vehicles. As a result, cyclists who are involved in collisions with vehicles often sustain serious injuries ranging from broken bones and lacerations to head trauma and spinal cord damage. Treating these kinds of catastrophic injuries is difficult and expensive and can quickly leave an injured party overwhelmed by medical debt. Collecting compensation from the person who caused the accident is critical to a victim’s recovery in these types of cases, so if you were injured in a collision with a motorist, you should consult with a bicycle accident attorney in Fort Wayne who can evaluate your case.
WHO IS AT RISK OF INJURY?
Because cyclists are so exposed, they are much more likely to be injured in an accident involving a vehicle. However, cyclists in certain age groups are more at risk of being involved in a collision with a vehicle. For instance, the CDC has found that adults between 50 and 59 years old are most at risk of suffering a fatal injury, while minors are more likely to sustain nonfatal injuries in these kinds of collisions. In fact, adolescents account for more than one-third of all bicycle accident victims.
Collisions between vehicles and cyclists are also more likely to occur in certain areas, namely in cities and in non-intersection locations. Alcohol consumption is also estimated to play a role in nearly 40 percent of collisions between motorists and cyclists.
BICYCLE ACCIDENT CAUSES
Like car accidents, collisions between vehicles and cyclists can take place just about anywhere and usually occur unexpectedly. However, in most cases, these types of accidents are the result of one of the following causes:
- A motorist failed to obey traffic signals and ran a red light;
- A motorist was speeding or otherwise driving aggressively;
- A driver failed to yield;
- A driver failed to check his or her blind spot prior to changing lanes; or
- A driver failed to give a cyclist enough space when passing or veered into a nearby lane.
Tragically, this type of negligent, but completely preventable conduct leads to thousands of bicycle accidents on a yearly basis.
WHAT ROLE DO ROAD CONDITIONS PLAY?
While motorist error is responsible for the majority of collisions with cyclists, the negligence of other parties also plays a significant role in a number of crashes. Poor road conditions, for example, pose a much greater risk to cyclists than they do to motorists and cause or contribute to many bicycle accidents. Potholes and slick pavement are especially dangerous to cyclists, as both can cause them to spin out of control or to be thrown from their bicycle and into oncoming traffic. Potholes in particular are particularly dangerous to cyclists and are also usually preventable, as they are often the result of long-term wear and tear that has been left unaddressed or improper attempts at repair. Failing to maintain a road’s condition can also lead to uneven surfaces, which are much more dangerous to cyclists than to motorists.
Besides potholes, slick road surfaces pose some of the greatest risks to cyclists. For instance, painted roadways, which can become slick when it rains cause hundreds of accidents every year. This is an especially high risk in areas with wide markings, such as pedestrian crosswalks, where the road paint has filled in the asphalt’s gritty texture, which in turn makes it much harder for a tire to grip the surface. Metal surfaces, like manhole covers and grates are also dangerous if they become wet and in some cases, where the bars of grates are placed in the same direction as traffic, a cyclist’s tires can actually become lodged in the grates themselves. In an attempt to address this problem, cities across Indiana have begun replacing outdated grates. Unfortunately, many still remain in place across the state.
Fortunately, even when a cyclist is injured in an accident caused by poor road conditions, he or she could still be eligible to recover damages from the party responsible for maintaining the roads, which could include a private contractor or the city itself.
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Filing a claim against the party responsible for a bicycle-vehicle collision is crucial, as the injuries sustained in these types of accidents tend to be serious and include everything from joint dislocations and compound bone fractures to chest and abdominal injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Recovering from these types of injuries is often a grueling and painful process that requires multiple surgeries and physical therapy. In some tragic cases, no amount of treatment can return an injured party to his or her former state of health and he or she is left permanently disabled. By filing a claim against the at-fault party, injured cyclists may be able to collect damages that will help cover these expenses, as well as other accident-related losses, such as lost wages and pain and suffering.
CALL AN EXPERIENCED BICYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Please contact one of the experienced Fort Wayne bicycle accident attorneys at Delventhal Law Office LLC by calling (260) 238-8608 today for a free case evaluation and an explanation of your rights and legal options. A member of our legal team is standing by and eager to help you through each step of your case.
AREAS WE PRACTICE
At the Delventhal Law office, our Fort Wayne personal injury attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights and interests of accident victims. If you or a family member was injured because of the carelessness or recklessness of another party, we can help. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers handle a wide array of legal cases, including:
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