Riders Beware: Recent Spike in Bicycle Crashes Resulting in Serious Personal Injuries

As summer temperatures heat up, more bicyclists are hitting the nation’s roadways. Unfortunately, this is leading to an increased number of dangerous accidents involving bicycles and cars. Recently, a Chicago bicyclist was rushed to the hospital in serious condition after riding past a stop sign and colliding with a truck at an intersection on the city’s north side. Chicago car accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have handled similar accidents involving a bike and another vehicle in Illinois and around the country.

There are countless opportunities for deadly bike crashes when cyclists and other motorists attempt to share the same roads. Dangerous collisions are likely, especially in large cities with heavy traffic volumes. From 2007-2009, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported nearly 5,000 bicycle crashes, including 12 fatalities.

Unfortunately, the problem is even more widespread. The number of car-bicycle accidents in New York is up 17 percent from last year. Florida bicyclists are even more at risk, because Florida ranks first in the nation for fatal bike crashes. Statistics show that a bike crash occurs every 34 seconds in Florida, and many of those crashes end in death. Government officials are trying to prevent these tragic accidents by adding bike lanes and sidewalks to city streets, but these improvements are costly and take time to complete.

Although vehicle and bicycle collisions are more likely to happen on busy city streets, they are also occurring at an alarming rate in smaller, rural towns. In Northern Michigan, two serious bike crashes happened in a single week, and both riders were rushed to the hospital for treatment. Bicycle accidents are also common in Wisconsin. In 2010, nine Wisconsin cyclists lost their lives in collisions with motor vehicles. In one particularly tragic accident reported by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, a father of three was hit and killed by a car while riding his bike on Father’s Day. The driver was ticketed and fined $114.

Bicycle accidents are likely to result in serious injuries because bikers have no protection and many cyclists fail to wear helmets. Injured riders may also experience loss of income, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent disabilities. Fortunately, legal remedies are available to help cover the cost of long hospital stays and time away from work. Negligent motorists who fail to share the road with bicycle riders and give them the right of way can be held financially liable with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. Drivers often claim that they did not see the cyclist, or that the cyclist was in their blind spot. But these excuses do not shield drivers from liability and they can still be held accountable. Bike accidents can also result from road debris, and road maintenance crews may be liable to the injured rider for negligently maintaining the roadways.

Since motorists around the country are failing to abide by appropriate standards of care, cyclists need to be extra cautious in order to prevent a serious crash. Head trauma, spine injuries, and broken bones are all common bicycle accident injuries that require expensive and lengthy medical treatments. Negligent motorists may be forced to pay a fine or cover hospital expenses for injured riders, but compensation may fall short for families who lose loved ones in a fatal bike crash.

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