Bicycle accidents can cause anything from minor inconveniences to life-changing injuries. Those who sustain minimal injuries experience temporary setbacks but eventually return to riding. However, the ones with major injuries have to grapple with severe consequences in the short and long term.

The most common bicycle injury involves trauma to the upper and lower extremities like arms, legs, hands, or wrists. Additionally, in this blog, we delve into various other bicycle-related injuries, offering a comprehensive overview of the risks cyclists face.

What are cycling injuries?

 

cycling injuries

 

Cycling injuries are physical harm or trauma incurred while riding bicycles. These can range from scratches and bruises to more serious injuries like broken bones, dislocations, facial injuries, or even head injuries. Some of the common cycling injuries are:

 

Spine and neck injuries

Spine and neck injuries can require an immediate surgical intervention. If a cyclist is thrown off the bike and lands on their back or neck, the impact can damage vertebrae, spinal discs, or ligaments. This impact force can lead to conditions like whiplash, cervical strains, or more severe injuries such as spinal fractures. If not operated on time, they may cause excruciating pain for a lifetime or may even lead to paralysis.

 

Upper arm and shoulder injuries

Upper arm and shoulder injuries are common in bicycle accidents. Falling on an outstretched arm or the side of the shoulder can cause injuries, including a fractured collarbone, damage to the joints, and torn cartilage. Many shoulder injuries have symptoms like pain, muscle weakness, stiffness, swelling, and numbness.

The consequences may differ depending on their severity. In the short term, it can cause pain and swelling and limit your ability to move your arm comfortably. If undiagnosed, it can develop into chronic shoulder pain, making shoulder movement even more difficult.

 

Knee and leg injuries

Legs and knees are exposed while riding the bicycle, making them vulnerable to collision injury. Each foot contains 26 delicate bones that can be easily broken or crushed in accidents. Knee and leg injuries caused by bicycle accidents may lead to broken bones, muscle tears, wounds, bruises, or even loss of your legs.

These injuries have lasting effects. In the long term, these injuries might cause persistent pain, stiffness or impair you physically. Some people might experience arthritis, where the joint becomes inflamed and painful over time.

 

Head injuries

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), head injuries are most common in bicycle accidents. Between 25% and 47% of bicycle accidents cause head injuries, often due to direct collisions with surfaces or objects. Such injuries can be fatal, potentially leading to internal bleeding, fractured skull bone, brain damage, open wounds, concussions, death, or even disability.

Read how bicycle accidents and brain injuries are linked, resulting in severe Traumatic Brain Injuries.

 

Facial injuries

Even with helmets on, cyclists still have their faces exposed, increasing the risk of injuries during accidents. Facial contact with the road surface during a fall, collision, sudden twists, or shearing forces during a cycling accident can tear the facial tissues. These injuries include broken bones, dislocated jaws, eye injuries, dental injuries, contusions, and puncture wounds. Untreated facial trauma can cause permanent loss of function like seeing, talking, and disfigurement.

 

Fractures and dislocation

Cyclists face a higher risk of fractures and dislocations since bicycles offer less protection than cars. When a cyclist falls, the body absorbs the impact force, which can transfer to the bones, potentially causing fractures or displacement. In these accidents, bones like collarbones, hips, pelvises, femurs, fingers, hands, ribs, neck, and spine can break. If these bones poke into the body, it can be serious or even life-threatening.

 

Skin and soft tissue injuries

The skin is the first line of defense in the case of an accident, so it is a common type of bicycle accident. When a cyclist’s skin comes into abrasive contact with the road during the accident, it can cause skin and tissue injuries. Soft tissues may strain or tear due to an abrupt twisting during a bicycle accident.

Some of the soft tissue injuries include road rash, muscle sprain and strain, bruises, tendonitis, and puncture wounds. Severe skin and soft tissue injuries may require surgery and skin grafts. It may also leave victims with pain and irreparable nerve damage.

 

What damages can I recover from a bike accident injury?

Recovering damages caused by a bicycle accident relies on various factors, such as the circumstances and jurisdiction of the case.

Losses can be both tangible and intangible. Some of the tangible losses that you can recover are:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damages
  • Legal expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs

Likewise, some of the intangible losses that you can claim are:

  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of consortium

Economic losses are simple to calculate due to the availability of bills, receipts, and invoices. However, calculating non-economic losses is challenging as there are no bills or receipts to refer to.

If you have met with a car accident and need to calculate the right compensation, lawyers at J.G. Winter have experienced attorneys ready to help you out.

Also read: What Damages are Recoverable Following a Bicycle Accident?

 

Does car insurance cover bicycle accidents?

In a collision where a car driver is at fault, their auto liability insurance covers the cyclist’s medical expenses and bike repairs. If the driver is uninsured, the cyclist must use their own health insurance for injuries and can use their renters’ policy for bicycle damages. Simultaneously, they can take legal action for compensation.

Conversely, if a cyclist is at fault in a car accident, they must cover the driver’s injuries and property damage using their homeowner or renter’s insurance policy. The cyclist’s health insurance will cover their own medical expenses. However, if the cyclist has bicycle-specific insurance included in their home or renters policy, it can cover damage to the bicycle.

What are the most common causes of a bicycle accident?

Bicycle accidents can occur for various reasons, often because of driver’s or cyclist’s errors. However, other contributing factors can also lead to such incidents. The prevalent causes of bicycle accidents include:

  • Low visibility: Because bicycles are smaller in size, they can be harder to spot. This can lead to catastrophic accidents.
  • Distracted driving: Drivers of larger vehicles, such as cars and trucks, often get distracted by their phones, creating an unsafe driving environment for cyclists.
  • Road conditions: Uneven or poorly maintained roads, potholes, and debris can cause cyclists to lose control and result in accidents.

 

Ways to prevent bicycling injuries

Due to the small size and lack of shield, bicyclists get more injuries when hit by a bigger vehicle. Cyclists must take all essential precautions to avoid injury and death because even one mistake of a negligent driver can result in tragedy. The following precautions decrease the possibility of bicycle injury by bicyclists:

  • Always wear a proper helmet
  • Make sure you have the right bike for you
  • Wear fluorescent clothing during daytime hours
  • Wear reflective clothing at night
  • Always follow traffic rules and regulations

Bicycle accident statistics

Cycling has become popular in the U.S. after COVID-19. Many people turned to bicycles to exercise outdoors while maintaining social distancing during the pandemic. However, this rise in cycling has coincided with a notable increase in accident rates. Among all the states, California has one of the highest number of bicycle accidents.

According to the National Safety Council, bicycle accidents have increased by 37% in the last 10 years from 2012 to 2021 in the U.S. Annually, bicycle-related fatalities account for approximately 2% of all such accidents.

As more and more people use bikes to get around, bike accidents happen more often. Because bikes are small and ignored by other big vehicle drivers, cyclists are vulnerable to getting hit.

Where do bicycle crashes happen the most?

Based on the statistics of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 27% of fatal accidents happen at the intersection. Similarly, 63% of accidents occur in other road areas, like highway roundabouts, cycling lanes, commercial areas, and residential areas. Likewise, Similarly, 10% of accidents occur at other locations like sidewalks, medians, trails, parking lanes, etc.

What to do after a bicycle accident?

In the amidst of a bicycle accident, you could panic and be confused about what to do next. The steps you take after the accident could hamper the case, so you must be careful. You should follow the following steps after an accident:

Ensure safety
The first thing you should do after a bicycle accident is ensure your safety. You should move to the safe side of the road, like the sidewalk, to prevent another vehicle from colliding with you. If you cannot move yourself, ask others to help you out.

Call 911 for medical and police assistance

Calling 911 will alert the police and emergency services in your area immediately.

No matter what the severity of your injury, it is essential to have your injuries assessed immediately. Even seemingly minor injuries could have serious underlying issues. So, we recommend you to call medical help with safety as a priority.

Likewise, legally you must report the car accident to the police within 24 hours in California. We advise you to call law enforcement immediately after the accident. The police report offers credible evidence for your claim as officers document the scene with photos, review surveillance footage and record other vital evidence for your case.

Never negotiate with the other party
Negotiating directly after a bicycle accident is risky due to the potential lack of awareness about injuries or damages. Accepting a settlement without fully understanding the situation may result in insufficient compensation.

Let legal professionals handle negotiations, as they have experience and skills in handling negotiations.

Get the other party and witnesses’ details
Exchange information with the driver, including name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, car manufacturing date and insurance policy number. Also, collect the names and number of witnesses.

Take photos
Always remember to take pictures of accidents, as it will help you preserve evidence. A picture speaks louder than a word; it can show injuries and damages and record important details you may forget while reporting it to a police officer.

Never negotiate with insurance companies
The driver’s insurance company may call you and attempt to settle before you have all the information ready to support your claim. Do not negotiate directly with any insurance company because they try to settle the compensation amount as low as possible.

Seek advice from a professional attorney
An experienced Sacramento Bicycle Accident Lawyer can understand the tactics of the insurance company and deal accordingly. With years of experience in handling various bicycle accident cases, they know how to calculate your deserved compensation. Therefore, it is better to refrain from negotiating with any insurance company, be it your own or the other party/parties involved.

Experiencing an accident can be deeply distressing due to the havoc and destruction it causes. Handling your bicycle accident alone can be tough due to the mounting medical expenses, financial uncertainty and emotional distress. At this stage, an experienced bicycle accident lawyer can be your legal friend who can help you get justice. Our experienced bicycle accident lawyer at J.G. Winter Laws can help you get compensation while recovering from your injuries.

 

Filing a personal injury claim

 

Contact JG Winter Law: your personal injury lawyer in California

 

You have the right to work with a personal injury lawyer if you are injured in a bicycle accident. There is no reason you should suffer alone without any compensation for your injuries.

At J.G. Winter Law, we specialize in bicycle accident lawyers with strong expertise in handling these cases. With an in-depth understanding of bicycle rules and years of experience, our lawyers effectively guide you through the legal process.

Our lawyers are committed to understanding each case’s details and ensuring a strategic and personalized approach to achieving the rightful compensation for bicycle accident victims.

If you are worried about lawyer fees, choose J.G. Winter Law. We work on a contingency basis, and you do not need to pay us until we win the case for you. Call for a free consultation today at 1.844.734.2626.