Steven A. Bagen | June 12, 2023 | Personal Injury
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that bicycle trips account for one percent of all trips in the United States. However, bicycle riders account for over two percent of those who pass away in a motor vehicle crash. While bicycles are great for the planet and your health, they are not without their risks, and statistics continue to show just how unsafe bikes can be. In the below guide, we will go over the statistics related to bicycle accident fatalities in more detail and review the legal options you have if you were involved in a bicycle crash, including consulting with a bicycle accident lawyer.
Bicycle Accidents and Deaths: What the Numbers Tell Us
According to the CDC, around 1,000 bicyclists die from an accident every year, and approximately 130,000 suffer injuries. Furthermore:
- Bicyclist deaths among those aged 20 and old have quadrupled since 1975.
- In the majority of bicyclist deaths, the most severe injury was to the head.
- Since reaching its lowest point in 2010, bicycle accident deaths have skyrocketed by 50 percent.
- The cost associated with bicycle deaths and injuries exceeds $24 billion in the United States. These costs include health care expenses, lost work productivity, and the expenses associated with the loss of life quality.
Bicycle Crash Trends
- Bicycle-related deaths tend to peak during the warmer months, beginning in May, and continuing to stay high through October. However, generally, the most bicycle-related deaths tend to occur in August, with the fewest in February.
- Bicycle-related deaths tend to increase from the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the week and 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. on the weekends.
- Approximately 57 percent of bicyclists killed in one year were not wearing a helmet.
- Around one-third of all accidents that lead to the death of a bicyclist were due to alcohol.
Location of Bicycle Accidents and Deaths
- Most bicycle-related deaths occur in urban areas.
- Around 64 percent of bicycle-related fatalities occurred on roads away from intersections, while 27 percent occurred at the intersection.
- In one year, approximately 61 percent of bicyclist deaths occurred on major roads other than freeways and interstates, while 33 percent occurred on minor roads.
- Bicyclist deaths of those younger than 20 years old were likely to happen on minor roads compared with bicyclist deaths of those 20 years and older.
Sex and Age
- Those between the ages of 10 and 24 make up nearly one-third of all bike-related injuries seen in the Emergency Department.
- Males have the highest death rate as a result of bicycle accidents, which is six times higher than females.
- Males have a five times higher injury rate from bicycle accidents than females.
- Those between 55 and 69 years old have the highest bicycle death rate.
Based on the data, you can see that no age group or location is safe from bicycle-related accidents and deaths. For these reasons, if you suffered significant injuries in a bicycle accident due to another person’s wrongful actions or lost a family member from this accident, consider discussing the crash with an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as you can. These legal professionals can determine whether you have a valid claim, go over your legal options, and help you fight for the financial recovery you are entitled to.
Why Do Bicycle Accidents and Fatalities Continue To Happen?
Today, more than ever, people are riding their bicycles, which also means that injuries and deaths following an accident continue to increase. Yet, while there are numerous factors that contribute to these tragic accidents, some of the more common causes that play a significant role in these crashes include the following:
- Motor vehicle drivers are driving much faster on the roads
- Motor vehicle drivers are more distracted as they are driving due to things such as texting and driving
- Motor vehicle drivers are not properly sharing the road with bicyclists
- Motor vehicle drivers are not checking for bicycle riders as they are making their turns
- There are more inexperienced riders on the road
- There is not enough being done to implement local bicycle safety laws
- Adequate bicycle infrastructure is not being built fast enough
In addition, there are more motorists on the roads. In fact, according to a report by Reuters, travel on the roads increased by 11.2 percent. This means there is a higher risk of bicyclists getting hit by a motor vehicle due to the increased traffic.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Although various causes can lead to a bicycle accident, in general, these accidents tend to result from the following:
- Motor vehicles speeding
- Motorists not paying attention to the roads
- Motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Motorists not yielding to the bicyclist
- Unsafe road conditions
- Motorist opening their doors in front of a bicyclist
- Motorist tailgating a bike
- Motorists running traffic lights and signs
- Motorists performing hazardous lane changes
However, if you were involved in a bicycle crash and want to know whether you have a right to pursue legal action after the accident, consider discussing the collision with an experienced bicycle accident attorney. These lawyers can look into what happened, figure out whether you have a viable claim, and help you go after the justice and compensation you and your loved ones deserve.
The Liable Parties Following a Bicycle Accident
Although there are countless parties that can be held accountable for a bicycle accident, some of the more common individuals and entities that are usually held liable for these devastating crashes include the following:
- The third part responsible for the accident, including motorists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians
- The bike manufacturer, if a faulty bike caused the crash
- Repair shops if they worked on the bike before the accident
- Governmental agencies are responsible for taking care of the streets if a road defect caused the accident
However, to better know who you can hold answerable for the accident and your resulting injuries and losses, contact a skilled bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. These attorneys can thoroughly investigate the crash, figure out what happened and who was responsible, and help you pursue legal action against all those at-fault for the accident.
The Financial Damages You Can Pursue After a Bicycle Accident
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a bicycle accident because of another person’s wrongful, negligent, or intentional actions, you may be able to pursue compensation for the losses and injuries you suffered. These damages are often broken down into the following damages:
Economic damages refer to payment for losses that have an actual price tag attached to them. These losses include things such as:
- Medical bills, including past and present expenses related to doctor visitations, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, emergency room visits, ambulance services, and other types of care
- Ongoing medical expenses, such as follow-up appointments and therapy
- Expenses related to making a home more accessible due to the injuries involved
- Lost income, lost future income, and lost business opportunities
- The costs associated with the replacement and repair of personal property damaged in the accident
These types of damages refer to losses that do not have an actual price tag because of their subjective nature. These losses include things such as:
- Pain and suffering.
- Inconvenience and humiliation due to the injuries
- Permanent disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of use of a body part or function
- Loss of companionship, which develops from a person not being able to take part in activities they could do before the accident, such as spending time with their partner or taking care of their children
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Mental suffering, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety
While the above damages are meant to compensate a victim for their losses after an accident and make them whole, the court awards punitive damages to penalize the wrongful party for their terrible actions and stop others from committing this act in the future. However, these damages are usually only awarded when the victim can show through clear and convincing evidence that the wrongful party was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
Wrongful Death Damages
If a person is killed due to another person’s wrongful actions, their surviving family members may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the person who passed away. If the wrongful death suit is successful, these survivors can obtain different kinds of financial damages, including payment related to the following:
- The loss of the decedent’s protection and companionship
- The loss of support and services the decedent provided their loved ones
- Mental pain and suffering
- The loss of parental instruction, guidance, and parental companionship
- Funeral and medical expenses paid by the surviving family members
The deceased’s estate may also recover other types of damages, including:
- Lost benefits, income, and other earnings
- The value of earnings and benefits the decedent could reasonably have been expected to retain had they lived, and
- Funeral expenses and medical costs paid by the estate
How Much Time Do You Have To File a Suit After a Bicycle Accident?
Before you can pursue legal action after a bicycle accident, you must realize that you have a limited time to file your suit. Per the statute of limitations, bicycle accident victims will usually only have a few years to file their case, with this timeline depending on the state and the type of claim that is being brought. Moreover, if there are exceptions that apply to this rule, these deadlines can also change and become even shorter. This is important because if a person fails to file their claim within the appropriate timeline, the court can bar them from obtaining the money they need.
That is why if you want to make sure you file your bicycle accident legal claim before time expires, consider discussing the accident with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. These lawyers can look into the state’s statutes, figure out how much time you have to file your case, and help make sure that the appropriate motions are submitted before this time runs out.
Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today and Figure Out Your Legal Options After a Bicycle Crash
If you lost a loved one in a bicycle accident or suffered serious injuries in a crash due to someone else’s reckless or negligent actions, you may be able to pursue financial damages for the harm and losses you suffered. However, even more importantly, you will not have to go after this monetary recovery on your own. Instead, when you retain skilled legal counsel to take on this fight for you, these legal professionals can promptly review your case, figure out the viability of your claim, and help determine the legal actions you can take next.
From there, these attorneys can also:
- Investigate the bicycle accident and gather evidence that can help show what happened and who was responsible.
- Hire experts to substantiate your personal injury claim, including accident reconstructionist specialists, economists, and medical professionals.
- Interview witnesses and get their testimony to help corroborate what happened.
- Make sure that files and documents are prepared and submitted before the statute of limitations expires.
- Tackle the negotiations with the other side, including the insurance company, and fight for a reasonable offer.
- Proceed to take your case in front of a judge or jury if the other side is not willing to get you the money you require, and go after maximum compensation.
- Collect the money that is owed to you.
In addition, because bicycle accident attorneys tend to work on a contingency fee basis, you will not have to worry about paying the attorney any fees upfront. In fact, the only time these lawyers will get paid is if you win your case or obtain a settlement. That is why if you want further information regarding bicycle accidents or how these attorneys can help you and your claim, do not wait any longer to get your questions answered. Contact an experienced accident injury lawyer in Gainesville today to schedule a free case evaluation.