Bicycling is a form of transportation and recreation for many people, especially in Colorado. While bicycling has many benefits, including physical health benefits and the benefit to the environment, it also puts you at risk of being involved in an injury-causing accident.
Although more and more communities are integrating bicycle lanes and bicycle awareness, the interaction between motor vehicles and bicycles remains a source of concern. Motor vehicle versus bicycle accidents occurs daily. However, bicycle accidents are not limited to accidents between bicycles and vehicles. Bicycle accidents can occur as a result of a dangerous condition where you are riding, including issues with streets and parking lots, signage, and debris. Cyclists can also suffer an injury while on their bicycles due to at-large animals, such as vicious dogs.
Bike accidents caused by a negligent motorist
Motor vehicle versus bicycle accidents most often occur because of a failure of the driver of the motor vehicle to see the bicyclist. This occurs even if the cyclist is riding legally on the street, sidewalk, or in the bike lane. Examples of negligent vehicle operation leading to injuries include:
- The negligent crossing of the vehicle through the bike lane
- Failure to see a cyclist who is crossing at the intersection
- Distracted Driving
- Failure to see a cyclist riding on the sidewalk
- Failure to see a cyclist in the bike lane when opening a vehicle door
Bike accidents caused by Dangerous Conditions
You may have a claim against a landowner if you are injured on your bicycle on the property of another. Landowners often fail to maintain roadways and parking lots resulting in an accident. Common types of surface hazards include:
- Pot holes
- Failure to remove snow or ice
- Poor signage
- Blind Corners
- Poor design of road or parking lot
- Unmarked hazards
- Unmarked drop-offs
Regardless of how your bicycle accident occurs, it is important to document what occurred at the time of the accident, if possible. Report the accident to the local police department and take photographs if appropriate. Take down the information of where the accident occurred and any witnesses to the accident. Do not have your bicycle immediately repaired.
Types of Injuries Resulting from Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents are known to cause serious injuries even if you are wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. These injuries include:
Traumatic Brain Injury- Serious bicycle accidents can result in traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include: Headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, loss of coordination, disrupted sleep patterns, and depression and mood swings. Seek medical treatment immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms after your bicycle accident.
Spinal Cord Injury- Spinal cord injuries are a result of trauma to your vertebrae which protect your spinal cord. Spinal cord injury symptoms include: extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back; weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body; numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes, and; loss of bladder or bowel control.
Broken Bones- Broken bones are a common injury in a bicycle accident. Broken bones often require that medical hardware be installed to facilitate healing of the bone. In some cases, the hardware will become bothersome to you and require removal. Hardware removal is an added expense.
Rotator Cuff Injuries- Cyclists often tear their rotator cuff in bicycle accidents by flying over the handle bars or by landing on their arm or shoulder. Repairing a rotator cuff often requires surgery. Rehabilitation from the surgery can take months and can limit you from enjoying recreational activities until your repair is fully healed.
Bicycle Accident Claims
When you are injured in a bicycle accident you may have several ways to obtain compensation. If you are injured because of the negligence of a motor vehicle driver, you may have claims against that driver’s insurance as well as your own uninsured/underinsured motor vehicle insurance. There may be a homeowner’s policies or general liability policies that apply to your claim as well. Contact the attorneys at HSD Law firm for an evaluation of your claim.