As gas prices increase and the freeways become ever more congested, more and more Virginians are choosing to use bicycles to travel to and from work or to complete daily activities. While bicycles may be an affordable alternative to driving in traffic, bicycling can be a dangerous activity. In fact, thousands of bicyclists are injured every year by negligent drivers. Bicycle accidents tend to have particularly devastating consequences for cyclists, who are not nearly as protected from impacts as motorists are. For this reason, it is especially important that injured cyclists seek compensation from the at-fault parties whose negligent or reckless conduct caused collisions.
The Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Although bicycle accidents can occur in a variety of situations, most involve one or more of the following:
- A motorist’s failure to obey traffic lights and stop signs
- Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- A driver’s failure to check his or her blind spot prior to changing lanes or turning
- Poor road conditions
- A defective traffic signal
Although other factors contribute to bicycle accidents, most involve the negligent or reckless conduct of at least one party.
Because bicyclists lack layers of steel between them and the road, airbags, and seat belts, they are more at risk of being injured in a collision than are motorists and could sustain:
- Broken or crushed bones
- Severe lacerations
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis
- Head trauma
Cyclists who sustain these types of serious injuries may be required to undergo multiple surgeries, attend physical therapy, and receive ongoing care from a physician. Tragically, some injured parties are permanently disabled or disfigured as a result of their accident and require specialized medical equipment or nursing care for the rest of their lives. In these cases, it is especially important for the injured parties to seek compensation from the at-fault parties.
Preventing Bicycle Accidents
Unfortunately, some bicycle accidents cannot be prevented. However, taking the following preventive measures can go a long way toward helping cyclists avoid collisions with motorists:
- Obeying traffic signals
- Using a front headlight and a rear red light at night or during inclement weather
- Refraining from riding outside of the bike lane
- Keeping an eye out for road defects, such as potholes as well as other cyclists or motorists
There are also certain steps that motorists can take to help keep cyclists in their vicinity safe. For instance, drivers should always carefully check the area for cyclists before changing lanes or turning. Motorists should also make an effort not to veer into the bike lane and only use it when making a legal right-hand turn. Finally, motorists should always give cyclists a wide berth when passing.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Dedicated Personal Injury Attorney in Richmond
Bicycle accidents can wreak havoc on a victim’s physical and emotional well-being as well as his or her bank account. If you were involved in a bicycle accident, please contact the legal team at Emroch & Kilduff by calling our Richmond office at (804) 358-1568 to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain your legal options.