Statistical Data Supporting The Importance Of Sharing The Road With Bicyclists
Statistical data reveals the importance of sharing the road with bicyclists. Though only 2% of vehicular accidents involve bicycles according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is actually a relatively high percentage considering only 1% of all trips are made using bikes.
This disparity supports the claim that bicyclists are among the most vulnerable group of people on the road. Therefore, they must exercise an extreme amount of caution when they trek dangerous roads, especially now more than ever.
Since its lowest point in 2010, the amount of bicycle deaths have increased by 55% in recent years according to the data produced by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A lot of these deaths are preventable, but these avoidable deaths have increased by 44% since 2011 per the National Security Council.
Indeed, car drivers and bicyclists —especially the former— need to do their due diligence and fulfill their duty of care to those around them. In this blog, Omega Law Group will do a deep dive on how both drivers and bikers can implement habits that promote road safety while in their respective modes of transportation.
Tips For Drivers
Avoid sudden maneuvers
Bikers have limited protections against heavy vehicles, which makes them extremely vulnerable in the event of a car accident. Doing risky driving choices could further exacerbate their feelings of anxiety which may lead to them falling off and getting hit by another car. Sudden lane changes, for example, could completely throw the biker off.
Therefore, drivers need to refrain from making unpredictable maneuvers on the road. This will help other bikers on the road and also reduce bike-related traffic fatalities overall.
Observe speed limits
As a driver, you are at an advantage during a bike collision. So if you’re driving fast, you will most likely leave the scene of the accident unscathed. But the same cannot be said for the biker you may have just hit.
Once a car crashes on a biker, the biker has significant chances of getting severe injuries in the brain and spinal cord due to how heavy and fast the car is. You have a duty to exercise care to those around you on the road. Observe speed limits, especially when a biker is on the road.
Distracted driving is dangerous enough as it is for the driver of a car, but even more so for bicyclists on the road. Bike riders are not afforded similar protections that a car driver has, and so engaging in risky behaviors while driving could be fatal for those who are riding their bikes on the road.
To better protect bikers from harm, drivers must do their due diligence and stop being distracted while driving. Focus on the task at hand. Don’t text and drive, don’t crane your neck if you pass by another accident on the road (rubbernecking), and don’t daydream.
Yield to cyclists
Drivers have a tendency to be extremely impatient with bikers on the road. This could harm bicyclists who are simply trying to get to their destinations just like everybody else.
But because they can’t move as fast as drivers in their vehicles, drivers would speed, do sudden maneuvers, among many other risky things that would only increase the chances of a catastrophic accident. This is all a violation of a driver’s duty of care to everyone around them.
The right thing to do is to share the road with cyclists and yield to them on the road. Remember, they are a lot more susceptible to accidents than you. Help them out by exercising kindness on the road.
Tips for Cyclists
If you are riding a bike on the road, it will be harder for other drivers to notice you. Other vehicles are simply wider and more visible. To prioritize safety, you will need to do everything in your power to appear more visible to other drivers. You need to wear bright colors to really command the attention of the drivers around you.
This is especially important when you’re riding your bike at night. The darkness may render you invisible, and the chances of getting into an accident will be a lot higher. Wearing fluorescent clothing and other retro-reflective materials may help alleviate this issue. Active lighting around your bike (ie: front white lights, rear red lights) may help as well.
Don’t be under the influence
Drivers have been cautioned against driving under the influence, but this needs to be heeded even more so by cyclists on the road. The effects of alcohol will impede your judgments and decision-making skills, resulting in an increased chance of acquiring catastrophic injuries. Worse, wrongful deaths.
This is especially important because alcohol is involved in about 33% of bicycle crashes that result in wrongful deaths, per the data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So if you just so happen to go the eco-friendly route to a get-together by riding a bike and alcohol is involved, make sure you give yourself ample time to sober up before hopping on your bike.
Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions
As a cyclist, there are a lot of incentives to stay focused on the road. For one, you won’t be inside a metal enclosure that could act as a cushion between you and cars that might collide with you in the event of an accident. You have to be extra vigilant, even more so than a car driver, just to stay alive or even to just avoid getting injured.
Before you get on your bike, make sure that you are devoid of any distractions and that you are well-rested especially in urban areas where most bike accidents happen according to the CDC.
What To Do After A Bike Accident
Seek Medical Attention
If nothing else, you should first and foremost seek medical attention. As soon as you are able to, call 911 so that you can get checked. Your health and wellbeing is most important in this situation. And even though you may think you’re fine save a few gashes, the adrenaline you feel at the moment may trick you. For example, symptoms of traumatic brain injury often manifest well after an accident happens. Err on the side of caution and get the opinion of a medical professional.
Exchange Personal Information
A lot of bike accidents result in a hit-and-run. But on the off-chance that the driver who hit you ends up doing the right thing and stops at the scene of the accident, make sure you exchange personal information. Get the following information from the at-fault party:
- Their Insurance Information: If they are insured motorists, their insurance will be held liable to getting you compensated. It’s extremely important to have access to this information as the injury you could possibly acquire will lead to a lot of doctor’s visits and physical therapy sessions. You will end up racking up medical bills.
- Picture Of Their Driver’s License: You need to be able to identify the driver who hit you in the accident so that you know who to go after some time you seek justice for the injuries you got. So having access to this information is just as important as getting their insurance information.
- Phone Numbers: Should you need additional info, it’s nice to have a way to contact the at-fault party.
File A Police Report
You should also try to get a police report, especially in the event that the driver who hit you ends up leaving you hanging. Having a detailed record of the accident will help a lot for insurance purposes and for when you seek compensation.
If you’re able to, make sure you call the police and be extremely detailed when walking the authority figures through the events leading to the accident. Make sure that you are letting them know about any pain and aches you’re feeling at that moment. A report from entities perceived to be “reliable sources” will be a huge help.
Seek Legal Counsel
Perhaps the most undervalued step of all, seeking legal counsel is incredibly important in maximizing your compensation after a bike accident. Insurance companies have an incentive to give you the lowest amount possible. But with the help of a qualified bike accident expert, you will get more out of these insurance companies.
Having a lawyer by your side will give you access to a tremendous amount of resources that could help with your treatment and recovery as well as compensation for wage loss and pain and suffering.
Call Omega Law Group
The elite legal team of Omega Law Group are well-versed with bike riding accidents and are well-equipped to help victims acquire the compensation they need for their injuries. Omega Law Group attorneys have been awarded by industry-vetted organizations and have garnered the attention from prestigious publications for the work that they do for their clients.
Their decades of combined legal experience has helped them develop the skills necessary to aptly guide bike accident victims in this tumultuous time in their lives. Throughout the years, they’ve helped recoup millions of dollars in settlement for their clients and will strive to make this complicated process as stress-free as possible.
Omega Law Group operates on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that clients don’t have to pay for their services upfront. They want to help those who are most vulnerable, so they make sure that their services are accessible to those who are of meager financial means. If you need the help of an award-winning and well-respected legal team, then you need to schedule a free consultation with Omega!