Bicycle Safety Month April 24, 2020
With this May being Bicycle Safety Month, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking a moment to remind drivers and bicyclists of what precautions they can take to reduce a number of preventable injuries and deaths that occur on our roads each year. The NHTSA’s data shows that bicycle fatalities have been increasing nearly every year since 2015, so taking steps to limit incidence rates is critical.
Bicyclists are most often involved in one of two main accident types: motor vehicle crashes or falls. While falls are the most common, collisions that involve automobiles are by far the deadliest. According to the NHTSA, on average 800 bicyclists die each year – and another 580,000 others seek emergency medical care for their bicycle-related injuries. Studies estimate that bicycle accidents account for an additional 1 to 1.2 million doctor’s appointments annually.
Bicycle Accident Risk Factors
Bicycle crash-related injuries can range from mild to severe; in some cases, injuries cause permanent disabilities or fatal consequences. The American Academy of Family Physicians, or AFP, says there are certain risk factors that contribute to bicycle-related injuries. Some of the most common risk factors are:
- Motor vehicle involvement,
- Not wearing a helmet,
- Age and gender. Male cyclists between the ages of 9 and 14-years-old face the highest injury-related risks,
- Time of day. The majority of bicycle accidents occur in the late afternoon or evening, when visibility is lower and:
- Cycling under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
Bicyclists who are injured in collisions or falls may experience injuries such as:
- Neck or spinal injuries like cervical strains and pain,
- Head injuries including concussions, skull fractures and other types of head trauma,
- Muscular sprains and strains,
- Abdominal injuries including contusions, lacerations, and internal organ injuries, and:
- Skin and soft tissue injuries like abrasions.
Head injuries like traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, and intracranial hemorrhages account for up to 60% of all bicycle accident-related fatalities. This is just one of the reasons why wearing a helmet is so important any time a person rides a bike. Helmets should be properly fitted and compliant with the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) safety and manufacturing standards.
Safe Bicycling Tips
Motor vehicle drivers should be mindful of bicyclists on the roads and exert caution when operating a vehicle in their vicinity. At the same time, there are certain precautions that bicyclists can take to stay safe, as well. The NHTSA recommends that cyclists always:
- Ride in the same direction as traffic,
- Check their bike equipment before going out (tires, seat, handlebars, brakes),
- Ride as predictably as possible (e.g. in a straight line and using hand signals to indicate turns),
- Obey traffic signs and signals,
- Remain visible by wearing brightly colored clothing, reflective materials, and using lights; and,
- Ride safely, which means not using electronic devices like a cell phone or cycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Even if you take precautions, accidents can still happen. When an accident happens because of a driver’s negligence, an injured cyclist may want to consider filing a legal claim to help cover growing expenses like medical bills, lost time from work, and all necessary, future medical treatment. If you were injured in a bicycle accident and you have questions about filing a claim, someone at our firm can help. Please contact a representative online now.
As Bicycle Safety Month rapidly approaches, the entire team at Galfand Berger wants to remind our readers to stay safe on the roads and to always ride responsibly and to watch out for others. Together, we can save lives!
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Bicycle Accident Victims
With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading Galfand Berger serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation with our legal team, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.