Bike riders are at serious risk for injury in the event of an accident.
Bicycling is a great way to get from place to place while providing an excellent cardiovascular workout. No one can deny that riding a bike is good for your health. It’s also an accessible mode of transportation, as it’s significantly less expensive to buy and maintain a bike than it is a car. Many children start learning how to ride a bike before they even start kindergarten. It’s just one of those activities that is engrained in our lives and our culture. Bike riders, however, are at serious risk for injury in the event of an accident.
KY bicycle accident lawyer Billy Johnson believes that those who cause harm to others should be held accountable for their actions.
A lack of protection renders bicyclists particularly vulnerable on the road. According to recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 50,000 bicyclists are hurt each year and around 700 are killed in traffic accidents –and the pervasive belief is that these numbers are actually too low. Many bike injuries aren’t reported because sufferers don’t consider their injuries serious enough to require medical attention. Particularly troubling is the fact that bicycle accidents are one of the main causes of death among young children.
A person on a bike is no match for a car or truck in the event of a collision. Their smaller size and absence of lights mean they’re often hard to see, yet bicycles are typically considered to be vehicles that must be ridden on the road with the flow of traffic. While wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of severe head trauma, that does not address other common injuries such as those to the neck, back, or spinal cord. Additionally, helmets are not legally required for bicycling in KY, although there is a bill awaiting a vote in the Senate that seeks to require anyone under the age of 12 to wear a helmet while they are on a bike or the parents face a $25 fine.
Each case is different, as is the severity of each accident, but oftentimes the motorist can be held liable for a bicyclist’s injuries — even if there was no actual contact between the bike and the vehicle (such as when a cyclist has to take action to avoid a collision). Drivers need to pay attention to their surroundings and act responsibly.
Common causes of bicycle accidents are when motorists:
- Make a turn directly in front of a moving bicycle
- Pull onto the road without looking carefully in both directions
- Fail to yield the right of way
- Don’t allow at least three feet of space when passing a bicycle
- Don’t check for cyclists when exiting their vehicle.
Here in Kentucky, there are some particularly dangerous places bicyclists find themselves having to navigate. A recent University of Kentucky study looked at 400 vehicle-bike accidents that occurred in Lexington during a five-year period and concluded that wrecks were the most common near/on the UK campus. Shockingly, one-fifth of the collisions were hit-and-runs, and frequent crash sites involved bike lanes that ended abruptly.
To keep the local biking community safer, Pike County has developed a new bike way system that should be done by late summer 2017. Running from Industrial Park to Pikeville Commons, the route will have new road striping and new signs. While special bike routes such as this are a step in the right direction, lanes separated by a physical barrier cut even more of the risk. You can also help yourself by wearing reflective clothing or stickers, not riding on the sidewalk, getting a mirror to monitor what’s going on behind you, not hugging the curb, signaling your turns, and riding with traffic.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, you need an experienced attorney to effectively represent your interests. At the Johnson Law Firm, our Pikeville bicycle injury lawyers handle bike wreck cases in Eastern Kentucky and statewide.
Our founder, Billy Johnson, has been named a Super Lawyer by U.S. News & World Report as well as an American Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 trial lawyer and he is a proud member of the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums. It’s important to contact us as soon as possible after you are injured in an accident because any delay can cause critical evidence to be lost and make it harder to prove fault. You need your own investigative team working to secure the evidence needed to prove your claim. To get ours started immediately on your behalf, contact us today by filling out this evaluation form or calling us at 606-437-4488.
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