Bicycle riders face a higher risk of crash-related injuries and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2013, more than 900 bicyclists were killed in the United States, and there were an estimated 494,000 emergency department visits for bicycle-related injuries. Fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists results in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of some $10 billion, according to the CDC.
Why are there so many bike accidents?
The main reason for these accidents and injuries is careless, inattentive, reckless and even drunk drivers. Accidents occur when drivers turn directly in front of bicyclists or pull out of driveways, parking lots, and parking spaces, directly in front of bicyclists. Other drivers obey stop signs and yield signs only in regard to other drivers, and then they negligently enter traffic without paying attention to nearby bicyclists.
According to the federal statistics, the most at-risk populations for bicycle accident deaths are teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 29, as well as older adults aged 45 and up. As for non-fatal bike accidents, the highest rates involve children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 24.
The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick has handled all varieties of bicycle accidents and injuries. We leverage our investigative and technical expertise to reconstruct accident scenes, analyze forensic evidence, take photographs and prepare diagrams, interview witnesses, examine highway defects, lighting and weather issues, and driver negligence. We seek insurance coverage wherever it is available to protect our clients’ rights.
The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick also takes pride in encouraging our bike-riding clients to take preventative steps to avoid accidents. These steps include:
- Wear properly fitted bicycle helmets. They reduce the risk of brain injuries and other head trauma.
- Make sure children wear helmets too. Children notoriously take short-cuts and often get injured when they are not wearing their helmets.
- Wear fluorescent clothing. Fluorescent clothing absorbs light and electromagnetic radiation and then emits the light, making bicyclists more visible from further away during the daytime.
- Wear reflective clothing at night. Using retro-reflective sheeting or strips on bikes and clothing can make bicyclists more visible at night.
- Use bike lights. White front lights, red rear lights, and other lighting on the bicycle or its rider can further help to reduce the risk of a collision.
Bicycle safety also requires continued vigilance on the part of bike riders. Just because a city may have established a specially designated bike lane or bike trail does not mean that it is safe to ride carelessly or inattentively.
Motor vehicle drivers do not always pay attention to these designated lanes or trails. Being alert for careless drivers, or fellow bicyclists who aren’t paying attention is therefore a necessity.
If and when things go wrong, the Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick is ready to help. If you have been involved in a bicycle-related accident, please do not hesitate to call us.