According to the National Centers for Disease Control, each year there are a reported 500,000 biking related injuries in the U.S. that require at least a visit to the emergency room at a hospital. In fact, more than 700 people die in the U.S. each year on a bicycle.
It's also an unfortunate fact that drivers of motor vehicles who make careless errors or are distracted usually are the culprits of serious bicycle crashes. Loose gravel on the road and rain-slicked surfaces often contribute to crashes. Additionally, speed increases risk; cyclists are much more likely to sustain serious injury when they are riding fast. Of course, remind your kids that stunts on bicycles increase the odds of accidents and injury.
So, how can bicyclists protect themselves from all this?
The simplest and most effective protection is to wear a helmet. Helmets reduce the number of deaths and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and they reduce overall medical costs.
- Wearing a helmet will not prevent you from being hit by a vehicle. The essential practice of safe bicycling is to be as conspicuous and as predictable as possible so that motorists around always know you are there and can predict what you are going to do.
- Night is the most dangerous time, because visibility is reduced. Thirty-six per cent of bicycle fatalities occur between 6pm and midnight.
- Every bicyclist should have a headlamp, preferably the newer LED (Light Emitting Diode) models, which have a brighter light and draw less power from batteries. Every bicyclist should also have a blinking red rear light.
- In addition, cyclists traveling at dusk or in the dark should wear a reflective vest with the SMV (slow moving vehicle) triangle on it. Bicyclists' clothing should be bright colored, with reflective strips, to increase visibility to drivers
Check out other articles related to accidents involving cars and bicycles
According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center bicyclists should ride with traffic. If you ride against traffic -- especially riding on a sidewalk -- you make yourself virtually invisible to motorists that are turning at intersections and driveways. They aren't expecting anyone coming from your direction. Almost a quarter of all bicycle/motor vehicle crashes involve a rider who's either riding against the traffic and/or riding along the sidewalk.
What do you do if you or a loved one are involved in a bicycle accident with injuries?
1. Seek professional medical care whether at an urgent care center or emergency room at the local hospital.
2. Make sure the police do a report of any car/bike wreck.
3. Call a lawyer who specializes in injury law to find out your rights.