According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 818 bicyclists died in vehicle accidents in the U.S. in 2015—over two people each day. This is a 6 percent increase since 2006 and a 13 percent increase since 2014. Additionally, 70 percent of people who died in bicycle accidents were killed in urban areas.
In Indiana, the number of bicyclists has doubled since 2000, and the League of American Bicyclists reports that Indianapolis has a higher crash rate than most other large U.S. cities.
Between 2007 and 2012, there were 492 bike collisions for every 10,000 bike commuters, with almost 5 deaths per 10,000.
If you’re an avid rider, someone who uses his bike to get to work, or even someone who rides occasionally, it’s important to know how easily an accident can happen and the types of injuries that can occur.
Types of Bike Injuries
When a bicyclist is involved in an accident and thrown to the ground or run over by a vehicle, his injuries can be life-threatening. Even with a helmet, the cyclist doesn’t have the kind of protection a vehicle driver has in a crash.
Here's a brief look at some common injuries when a bicyclist and vehicle collide:
- Head injuries. Of injured bikers, 22–to– 47 percent suffer a head injury. This is often due to a crash with a motor vehicle. Head injuries are responsible for more than 60 percent of all bike-related deaths. Any type of traumatic brain injury can cause permanent disabilities, and even people who suffer a minor concussion can experience chronic headaches.
- Road rash. This is a common but less serious injury that occurs when a bicyclist falls and skids across pavement or cement. Exposed skin rips off, and gravel and dirt can become lodged in the open wounds. This may lead to infection, and the healing process for road rash can be long and painful.
- Broken bones. During a fall, any body part that comes in contact with the road can break. It’s common for bicyclists to experience wrist and arm fractures, a broken pelvis, or a broken hip bone.
- Dislocated shoulder. When cyclists try to brace themselves during a fall, it’s common for them to dislocate a shoulder. While it’s fairly easy to remedy the dislocation, this injury can later cause chronic shoulder pain and problems with movement and functioning.
- Spinal cord damage. It’s not unusual for a cyclist to experience damage to the spinal cord during an accident. If there’s a vertebrae fracture or the vertebrae is severed, the rider could face severe or permanent disability.
- Knee injuries. In a cycling accident, the rider often experiences knee injuries. A common injury is to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)—the ligament that provides stability and runs through the middle of the knee. This type of injury can be a sprain or tear when the cyclist falls after a crash and lands forward on the pavement, and it can also occur when the knee is twisted during the accident.
Types of Bike Accidents
Particularly for those cyclists who ride in the street, the risk for a collision with a vehicle is high. The primary danger lies in the lack of protection the cyclist has if he experiences a crash.
Common bicycle accidents include:
- The right cross. This type of accident occurs when a cyclist has passed in front of a motor vehicle waiting to exit from an alley, driveway, or parking lot. If the vehicle pulls out and turns right too soon, it can hit the cyclist. An accident can also happen if the car pulls out at the last second and blocks the cyclist’s path, causing the cyclist to collide with the car. The driver could be found negligent because he failed to yield to the rider’s right-of-way.
- The door prize. This type of accident happens when the driver of a parked car opens the door directly in the path of an oncoming cyclist. There isn’t enough time for the cyclist to move out of the way or stop to avoid a collision. It’s possible to file a negligence claim based on the driver’s failure to pay attention to avoid a collision and because he violated the cyclist’s right-of-way.
- The rear end. This type of collision is the most common way that intoxicated drivers hurt or kill people on bikes. Because drivers don’t always travel at a safe distance from cyclists, they can easily cause a rear-end collision. It’s important that drivers be extra observant and maintain a safe distance when they’re passing a bike.
- The left cross. This type of accident happens when a car and a cyclist approach an intersection, each coming from the opposite direction, and the driver turns left in front of the cyclist or hits him. The driver could be considered negligent for not yielding the right of way.
We Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a biking accident, contact Sevenish Law Firm for experienced legal representation. Our dedicated staff will visit the accident scene right away and begin investigating the crash. We have a reputation for being aggressive with insurance companies, and we’ll work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. You’ll pay no fee unless we win your case. Call us today, or fill out our online form.