Some of the main causes of bicycle accidents include distracted driving by motorists or a failure to yield, among other causes. The consequences of a bicycle accident can be severe. This is particularly true in cases where a cyclist is struck by a moving vehicle. Due to a bicycle’s vulnerability during a vehicle collision, these accidents frequently prove to be deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 850 cyclists were killed in collisions with motor vehicles in 2018 alone. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found this to be a seven percent increase in fatalities compared to the previous year.
Dangerous bicycling accidents can occur based on many factors. Often, these accidents occur due to human error by the cyclist or the driver of the motor vehicle involved in the crash. The following list identifies some of the main causes of bicycle accidents in the United States.
Distracted or inattentive driving is one of the most dangerous factors on American roadways. Whether they are looking at their phone or simply daydreaming, a distracted motorist is unlikely to notice a cyclist in their path. Some distracted drivers strike cyclists they share the road with, while others could accidentally leave the road and collide with a rider on a bike path.
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Motorists that are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are especially likely to be involved in a bicycle crash. These drivers typically see a sharp reduction in their reaction time and their decision-making ability. Cyclists can be difficult to spot under the best circumstances, making it especially likely that an intoxicated motorist could unknowingly collide with a bike rider.
Failure to Yield
One of the deadliest locations for cyclists is an intersection. Intersections are especially dangerous due to motorists that fail to yield the right-of-way to nearby cyclists. Drivers may make risky left turns across traffic at an intersection. The same is true of motorists that attempt a right turn on a red light. While looking for other motorists, these drivers could fail to yield to cyclists with the right-of-way.
Speeding is a common factor in many different types of accidents, including bicycle collisions. Traveling at high speeds can make it difficult for a motorist to avoid a collision with a cyclist in their path. Due to the size of cyclists compared to other vehicles, a speeding motorist might not notice them in time to avoid a crash.
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When it comes to bicycle accidents, a fatigued motorist could be as dangerous as a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Fatigue can diminish a person’s response time and decision-making, much like controlled substances can. It is not uncommon for a fatigued driver to strike a bicyclist without realizing they were nearby. Some fatigued drivers lose consciousness, striking bike riders in their path. In any event, these accidents have the potential to be deadly.
Not all bicycle accidents are the fault of the parties involved. In some cases, neither the cyclist nor the motorist is negligent. One example involves mechanical defects. These defects could occur in the motor vehicle. Anything from defective headlights to a failure in the braking system could lead to an accident.
The same is true for problems with the bicycle. A bike with a failing brake system or handlebars could cause the cyclist to lose control and veer into the path of an oncoming motorist. In these cases, it could be possible to pursue a lawsuit against the defective part manufacturer.
Another situation where neither party involved in the bicycle accident are at fault involves dangerous roadways. Some roadways are inherently dangerous due to their poor design. Roads with dangerously sharp turns or steep grades could increase the odds of an accident.
The same could be said for roadways that fall into disrepair. Loose gravel, damaged road surfaces, or missing traffic signs could all lead to a bicycle accident. In these cases, it could be possible to pursue legal action against the government entity responsible for the roadway in question.
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No matter how your bicycle accident occurred, the injuries you experienced could be severe. If you are living with the consequences of a bike accident, you could seek to hold the negligent party responsible for the collision.
The team at Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. can not only advise you on the main causes of bicycle accidents, but they can also help you develop a theory of liability for your crash. At Sevenish Law Firm, P.C., we understand personal injury law, as personal injury cases are all we do. To learn more about how legal counsel could help you seek the compensation you deserve, call a team member from our firm today at (317) 636-7777. Your case review is free.