Now that warmer weather is here, we can expect to see more bicycles on the roads. To reduce the chances of an accident, drivers must be aware of cyclists and take precautions to keep them safe.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 840 cyclists died in traffic accidents in 2016. What can be done about this? Following a few simple rules may help.
In addition to the basics of good driving, drivers should take the following steps to reduce accidents with bicyclists:
- Be especially vigilant at night; most fatal bike accidents happen between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- Leave yourself plenty of room when passing a cyclist.
- Be careful when turning right on a red light as it can be difficult to see cyclists in the right rear area.
- Slow down in school areas and near parks and playgrounds where there tend to be more children on bicycles.
- Don’t engage in distracted driving such as texting behind the wheel.
Consequences of bike accidents
In a crash between a bike and a car or truck, the cyclist is the one who suffers serious or fatal injuries such as:
- Broken or crushed bones
- Severe lacerations or road rash
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
These types of injuries can cause permanent damage to the accident victim. They may require surgery and months or years of medical treatment. In cases of brain or spinal cord injuries, they may result in lifelong disability or even death.
Fortunately, there is help for bike accident victims and their families. Seeking financial compensation from the negligent driver may provide for medical expenses and lost wages. In some cases, compensation for pain and suffering is also a possibility.