Bicycling is a popular form of exercise, entertainment, and transportation, but sharing the road with motor vehicles and trucks can be dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported over 1,000 fatalities and close to 500,000 people injured in U.S. bicycle accidents over the span of a year. That’s an average of three fatalities and over 1,000 people injured each day in bicycle accidents across the country.
A bicyclist is at a high risk of serious injury whenever they are in an accident with a motor vehicle. Broken bones, lacerations, contusions, head injuries, and spinal injuries are common consequences for cyclists that have been involved in an accident with a car or truck. Though all accidents involving a bicycle are dangerous, there are some that carry a very high risk of injury.
Dooring Accidents: This type of accident occurs when drivers and passengers in cars and trucks exit their vehicle without first checking to see if a bicycle is approaching. When this happens, the bicyclist is frequently injured when they are hit by another vehicle as they swerve to avoid the open door, or when they crash into the door that opens in their path. Dooring accidents are responsible for approximately ten percent of all bicycle accidents.
Left-Hand Turn Accidents: One of the most common types of accidents occur when motor vehicles collide with a cyclist as they make a left-hand turn. These accidents frequently result in serious and often fatal injuries to the bicyclist. Drivers often fail to see a bicycle in their path before it is too late because they are focusing on the oncoming traffic when making their left-hand turn. Drivers are almost always held liable for the cyclist’s injuries since it is their responsibility to check all angles of traffic when making a left-hand turn.
Right Hook Accidents: Bicyclists travel along the right side of the road, so motorists making right-hand turns can easily collide with cyclists if they fail to yield to their right of way. When a car and bicycle rider approach an intersection where they are making a right-hand turn, the driver of the motor vehicle must allow the cyclist to turn first. This applies to right turns on red lights as well. The cyclist always has the right of way when making right-hand turns.
Hit and Run Accidents: Negligent motor vehicle drivers, those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and distracted drivers are often involved in hit and run bicycle accidents. Fear of a DUI charge, or a ticket for negligence or for using their cell phone at the time of the accident can cause panic that leads to the driver fleeing the scene of the accident. Many bicyclists suffer serious injury when the driver fails to stop and assist.
If you are involved in an accident with a bicycle, it’s important to know what to do, whether you are the bicyclist or the driver of the motor vehicle. First and foremost, all drivers and cyclists’ injuries need to be assessed and stabilized. Once everyone is stabilized, the police and emergency medical vehicles should be called to the scene. If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene and any injuries that have occurred. Gather witness names and contact information so that the insurance companies can use their testimony to determine liability.
In the event of a hit and run accident, it’s important to describe everything you can remember about the vehicle that struck you. Even though you may not recall the license plate number, a description of the vehicle can help capture the driver responsible for the accident and injuries.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle accident, the experienced bicycle accident lawyers in New Jersey at Davis and Brusca, LLC can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call us at 609-786-2540, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Princeton and Trenton, New Jersey and we serve clients throughout the state.