When a child first learns how to ride a bicycle, falling down and crashing into things is expected. Learning how to steer and set the brakes, not to mention getting rolling are all a part of the process of becoming proficient. Scrapes and bruises are also part of the process. Kids usually bounce back fast from these little mishaps. On the other hand, some adult bicycle crashes can take on a much more serious tone, landing people in the emergency room or worse.
When a Good Time Turns Bad
Especially in a place like Florida, where the skies are so sunny and bright and the air is fresh, bike riding is very enjoyable. Whether you are riding for fun, for transportation, exercise or some other reason, hitting the road with your bicycle can be exhilarating. Depending on where you are riding, it can also be stressful.
Most bicycle crashes occur in urban areas, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.) These accidents are most likely to happen during evening rush hour traffic, particularly between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. While many bicycle/vehicle accidents do happen at intersections when a vehicle is turning, over 60-percent of fatal bicycle crashes do not happen there. Only a small percentage of crashes happened in bike lanes.
Statistics on Bicycle Crashes
Injuries and deaths from bicycle crashes are caused by a number of factors. About one-third of these accidents involve alcohol – either the driver of the vehicle or the rider had a BAC of 0.08 or higher. According to a survey conducted in 2012 by the National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior, about 30-percent of the crashes were due to a bicyclist being hit by a car. 17-percent of the injuries occurred when the cyclist fell. Injuries resulting from poor roadways/walkways accounted for another 13-percent, and distraction or rider error was responsible for another 13-percent.
Solutions to the Problem
Accidents are going to happen because that’s the plight of the world we live in. That said, there are things both drivers and riders can do to minimize the risk. Obviously, operating your vehicle, whether motorized or bicycle, while sober is going to make a difference. Bicyclists can also be proactive by wearing clothing that has reflective material on it and making sure their bikes have white lights in the front and red lights in the back. Basically, make sure you can be seen by motorists, particularly at night to help avoid a crash with a vehicle.
Pay attention to the road. Distractions account for a fair amount of injuries. Being distracted at the wrong moment can also lead to death. If you are riding on a surface that is in poor repair or if you are riding in traffic, particularly during high-risk times, like evening rush hour, concentrating on your surroundings is even more important.
Above all, make sure you are wearing a proper helmet. Some helmets are for looks and won’t necessarily give your head the protection it needs, in the event of a fall or crash. Be sure your bike helmet has the proper certification.
The law offices of Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., specializing in personal injury law. If you believe you have a personal injury case and are seeking legal representation, give us a call. We will consult with you on a complimentary basis for your first consultation. We serve the southwest Florida region through our offices located in Port Charlotte, North Port, and Englewood.