As a cyclist, nothing is more serious or tragic than being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, they happen more frequently than most of us would care to acknowledge. Thankfully, there are things you can do to lower your risk of injury.
Bicycle Accident Statistics and Trends
According to the CDC, nearly 1,000 bicyclists die each year as a result of crashes that occur on roads. Another 130,000 are injured. The total cost of these injuries and deaths exceeds $23 billion annually.
Interestingly, adults between the ages of 55 to 69 have the highest bicycle death rates, while adolescents, teens, and young adults have the highest rate of bicycle-related injuries that are treated in emergency rooms across the country.
The data shows that most bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas and cities, while 64 percent occur on roads away from intersections (where other vehicles may be traveling at high speeds).
Cyclists who are struck by vehicles on the road are most likely to experience head injuries (fractures, concussions, and TBIs), facial injuries (fractured jaw, broken teeth, broken nose, road rash, etc.), bodily trauma (broken bones and dislocations), back injuries, and death.
If you ever find yourself in a bicycle accident, it’s important that you immediately hire an attorney to jumpstart the process of receiving proper compensation for your injuries. Otherwise, you could be on the hook for covering 100 percent of your medical bills.
Tips for Staying Safe on Your Bicycle
While you can’t control everything that happens on the road, there are certain factors and circumstances that you dictate. Here are several ways you can influence particular variables to reduce risk and increase safety:
- Choose the Right Bike
The first step is to make sure you’re riding the right size bike. If your bike is too big, you won’t have enough control over it (which could lead to erratic steering and difficulty braking). If your bike is too small, it makes it difficult to properly pedal and/or distribute your weight.
Bicycle sizes are usually based on height. However, if you’re going to buy a new bike (or want to know if the bike you’re currently riding is right for your size), it’s a good idea to head over to a local shop and get an opinion. They’ll be able to measure you and point you in the right direction. Read more about How to Hire the Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
In addition to having the proper size, consider the type of wheels and seat you have. It’s also wise to double-check that your brakes are in proper working order. If the brake pads are rubbing against the rotors, you’ll experience issues. Test and adjust them before each ride.
- Wear the Proper Equipment
Having a good bicycle is the first step. The second step is to wear the proper cycling gear and equipment. This gear serves two purposes. First off, it’s designed to keep you safe should you fall or experience a collision. Secondly, it’s intended to make you more visible to reduce your risk of being involved in an accident. At a minimum, you need a helmet and proper biking shoes. If you’re getting into the sport of cycling, it’s smart to invest in head-to-toe visibility and gear.
- Avoid Problem Areas
Collisions with vehicles can occur almost anywhere. However, they’re most likely to take place at urban intersections or on long stretches of highway – specifically rural, two-lane roads.
While it’s not always practical to avoid these areas, you can do your best to optimize routes so that you go through fewer busy intersections and/or have plenty of room to travel on the road.
- Pay Attention to Conditions
A bicycle accident is much more likely to happen in dark or wet conditions. This is usually a matter of visibility and/or the ability of your tires to grip the road. Optimal conditions are daytime and dry weather.
Adding it All Up
Cycling should be fun. Whether you ride your bike to work or you ride hundreds of miles per week training for various races, the road is designed to be shared. While you can’t force drivers to give you the space and caution you need, there are plenty of factors that you have influence over. This article should give you a decent place to start!