While the world is slowly getting back towards normal, and many individuals are returning to work and their previous routines, we still have been seeing an increased number of bicyclists on the road. There are still not quite as many cars on the roads as there typically are during this time, however, with multiple bikes joining the road warrior ranks, the chances of being hit by a vehicle while you are riding is increased. It is always important to practice bike safety, know what the common causes of bicycle accidents and injuries are, and know what to do if you are hit. Let’s check out how to go about staying safe as a cyclist.
How Do Bicycle Accidents Happen?
In a previous blog post (read it here), we have extensively detailed what the most common causes for bicycle accidents are, and how to prevent them. To summarize, when an inadequate amount of attention is given to others on the roadways, accidents occur. Quite often, drivers and passengers will open their doors without first checking their surroundings and ensuring that no other vehicles or bicycles are headed their way that may be struck by an opening door.
In addition, drivers of motor vehicles can ride too closely to other vehicles or bicycles on the road without having spacial awareness, resulting in a side swipe. Similarly, not giving cyclists enough space when riding behind them can lead to rear-ending them should they stop suddenly. Suddenly turning in front of a bicycle can result in an accident where the cyclist does not have enough time to react and ends up running into the vehicle.
Inclement weather affects cyclists differently than motor vehicle drivers as well, so additional consideration should be granted when rain or wind are at play. Driving under the influence or while intoxicated can easily lead to not noticing cyclists on the road, or not being aware of how much space to give them. Reckless driving such as refusing to follow traffic laws and properly stopping at signs and signals is another contributor to bicyclist accidents.
How to Stay Safe
There are many reasons that bicycle accidents occur. Many can be prevented by simply paying more attention while on the roads. Staying safe as a bicyclist involves properly equipping yourself and maintaining an awareness of how other drivers are behaving around you. It is also drivers’ responsibilities to give cyclists plenty of space and allow for adequate reaction time. While we cannot guarantee that you can prevent every bicycle accident from occurring, there are steps that can be taken to help avoid them, and you can prepare ahead of time so you know what to do if you are involved in an accident while riding your bike.
Your Next Steps
In addition to taking the necessary precautions to remain as safe as possible while riding your bicycle on the roadways, you should also know what to do if disaster strikes. The majority of safety lies in prevention, but having the full knowledge of how to handle a worst case scenario can assist in keeping the devastation to a minimum. Your first step should be to contact emergency services. Request an official report be filed and seek medical attention immediately. Share every detail of the event with the reporting officer, and jot down what you remember for your own records as well. Making these notes while the situation is still fresh helps eliminate the potential of you forgetting important parts of what happened.
Take photographs of the scene and the vehicle and bicycle that were involved. Snap pics of your injuries and any other information that you may need to prove the severity of the accident. Speak with witnesses in the area and gather contact information and testimonials of their perspectives of what happened. Include this information in the official report as well if possible, and get copies of any report that is filed. Last but not least, seek legal representation. Regardless of how cooperative the other party involved in the accident may seem at the time, if you are planning on building a case to seek compensation for the injuries and damages you have suffered, it is wise to seek legal counsel and hire an attorney to represent you. This allows you to focus on healing while your case is being managed by the best. Contact our bicycle accident attorneys today!