The number of deadly bicycle accidents is rising all across the country. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, bicycle accident fatalities increased by 12.2 percent in 2015. Fatality rates also rose dramatically between 1975 and 2015 for riders over twenty years old. Interestingly, fatality rates fell dramatically during the same period for riders under twenty years old. It remains to be seen if this is due to a shift in the age of the average bike rider, effective childhood bike safety programs, or other factors. What is known is that bicyclists face deadly risks every time they hit the road.
What To Do After a Bicycle Accident
The immediate aftermath of any traffic accident is confusing, chaotic, and overwhelming. By knowing what to do, you can take control of the situation, ensure a healthy recovery, and protect your legal interests. First, it is critical for injury victims to obtain access to whatever necessary medical attention is available.
Next, give your statement to police officers who respond to the scene. In the event of a hit and run accident, get as much identifying information as you can. A description of the driver or vehicle can help the police identify the hit and run driver. A license plate number is particularly helpful in this regard. Finally, go to an urgent care center or emergency room as necessary to obtain any further medical treatment. Injury victims should also consult with their primary care doctor and specialists as needed to ensure that they receive appropriate treatment, and to make sure they do not aggravate their injuries.
An Ounce of Prevention
These tips can help you stay safe on South Florida roads:
- Both your bike and your safety equipment should be a good fit for you. Make sure that children have helmets which are properly fitted to their head sizes.
- Always wear a helmet. The United States Department of Transportation reports that helmet use reduces the chances of sustaining a head injury by fifty percent. It also reduces the chances of sustaining a head, neck, or face injury by thirty-three percent.
- Make sure your bicycle and equipment are in good working condition before riding. Take special note of the brakes and chain. Tires should be fully inflated and free of debris.
- See and be seen. Drivers are not always expecting to see bicycles on the roadway. Wearing light-colored clothing or reflective devices such as wristbands or safety vests will help drivers see you. Be particularly cautious when riding at night.
- Bikers should also ride defensively: never assume that a car will yield the right of way to you, even if they are legally required to do so. Always be aware of your surroundings. You should also avoid unpredictable movements, as this makes it even more difficult for cars to avoid you. Signal your movements whenever possible.
- Be cautious in parking lots or when passing parked cars along the street. Doors can open unexpectedly, as drivers in parking lots are usually focusing their attention to parking. Leave plenty of space between your bike and a parked vehicle. Use extra caution whenever a nearby vehicle is backing up.
Bicyclists may have numerous options for recovering damages, including personal injury protection benefits from the at-fault motorist as well as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage from your own auto insurer - even though you weren't behind the wheel of a car.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, you have legal rights which must be protected. Contact an experienced South Florida bicycle accident attorney today to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.