Riding a bicycle is good for mental and physical health, and can serve as a money saving alternative for transportation. Cyclists, however, can be more susceptible to sustaining serious injuries as a result of a collision or a crash with a motor vehicle. The law allows you an opportunity to recover monetary compensation from a negligent driver for costs related to such accidents.
Not all drivers act with integrity. Some drivers will attempt to flee the scene of an accident to avoid liability, especially if they have been involved in some type of wrongdoing, such as driving while intoxicated. In such cases, it can be difficult to track down the information of the driver.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, your first priority should be your health. You must immediately seek medical attention after you have been involved in an accident. In addition to ensuring your well-being, seeking medical attention will also create a documented history to later prove any accident-related injuries.
Another thing that you can do is capture a photograph of the vehicle’s license plate number. This will help you obtain the driver’s contact and other information that will be used to file a claim against the driver.
Bike accidents cause devastating injuries and trauma. If a driver has left the scene of an accident in which you were involved, you should strongly consider taking swift legal action. Motor vehicle laws require that a driver remain at the location of the accident and report the incident to police when someone has been injured.
In spite of these laws, hit-and-run accidents still happen frequently, leaving many victims feeling helpless. You should immediately contact the police and speak with accident lawyers to help protect your right to recover compensation for your damages.
Statistics Related to Bicycle Accidents
Riding a bicycle is fun and offers many advantages; however, it can also be dangerous. There are many risks associated with riding a bike. According to National Health Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, there were 857 cyclist deaths in 2018, which accounted for 2.3 percent of all traffic fatalities during the year. All bicyclists should wear helmets whenever they ride because a helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash. Still, helmets do not prevent all injuries. Here are some bicycle accident-related statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Bicycle accidents account for about 1% of total accidents that occur in the United States; however, bicyclists are at a much higher risk of incurring severe injuries.
- More than 400,000 cyclists suffer every year from injuries related to bicycle accidents. Some injuries are long-term and may require proper medication.
- The younger population, between the ages of five and nineteen, suffer more bicycle accidents but cyclists over the age of 50 are at greater risk of receiving fatal injuries.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the biggest reasons for the occurrence of such accidents. The NHTSA adds that twenty-six percent of the cyclists who died in 2018 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .01 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or greater.
- Male cyclists tend to suffer more injuries in bike accidents in comparison to female riders.
Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accidents
Looking at these statistics, we can infer how devastating a bicycle accident can be. One of the worst things that could happen after an accident can be the driver leaving the scene. It can be challenging to prove the liability of another motorist in hit-and-run cases for the simple reason that they left with the evidence.
It can even be challenging to claim compensation from your own insurance company without evidence of the accident. In Philadelphia, hit and run accidents are covered by most auto insurance policies. You would most likely be covered even if you were hit by an uninsured driver or a driver who left the scene.
The compensation you would be entitled to, however, may be significantly less than if you pursued compensation from the other driver. There are experienced personal injury attorneys available to assess the facts of your case and discuss your options.
Responsibilities of Motorists Towards Cyclists
As a bicycle rider sharing the road with large motor vehicles, you should follow the laws closely to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of motorists and pedestrians you share the roads with.
Generally speaking, bicyclists are also vehicle operators who are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signals, signs, and adhering to proper lange changes. When cycling in the street, cyclists are supposed to ride in the same direction as traffic.
Similarly, motorists have certain responsibilities to protect the safety of cyclists:
- It is important to maintain a gap of at least four feet between the vehicle and a cyclist.
- A motorist can pass cyclists to avoid travel delays only if it is safe to do so. Passing should be done carefully, considering the traffic situation, lane markings, and with proper signaling and notification.
- If an accident does occur, a motorist should not leave the accident scene. Motorists have not only a civic duty to ensure the welfare of a person who may be injured, but they have a legal duty to ensure any injured people are helped.
It can be challenging to obtain compensation after a hit-and-run accident. You should consider speaking with a lawyer for advice on how to track down the guilty party and hold them responsible.
Look for an experienced accident lawyer who specializes in bicycle accidents. They should be well-versed in bicycle accident law and able to assist you with filing the claim. A lawyer will represent you in settlement negotiations with insurance companies or opposing parties, or should negotiations stall, can represent you in court. Consult an attorney today and get the compensation that you deserve.