Bicycling is a popular hobby in the state of Virginia, in addition to being an environmentally-friendly form of transportation. Unfortunately, even when a bike lane is in place, it can still be dangerous sharing the road with other motorists. Bike accidents resulting from collisions with motor vehicles end up causing serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. The following offers tips on how to protect yourself when traveling on two wheels.
According to data collected by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, just under 800 cyclists are killed each year after being hit by a vehicle. Unlike occupants in a vehicle, a person on a bike is completely unprotected in a crash, resulting in often severe injuries.
There are many reasons why a bike accident occurs. Some of the most common causes that our law firm has seen in the personal injury cases we have handled include:
- The driver failed to see the bicyclist
- The driver failed to stop at a stop sign, red light, or ignored other traffic laws
- The driver was speeding
- The driver was engaged in distracted driving behavior (i.e. cell phone use, setting GPS)
- The driver or passenger opened the vehicle door into the bicyclist
- The driver was operating the vehicle in an aggressive manner
Tips to Prevent Bike Accidents on Open Roads
Unfortunately, bike accidents are far too common and put bicyclists at a distinct disadvantage. With little to shield them against the weight of a 200 pound or more motor vehicle, impacts are often severe. There are steps you can take that can help you protect yourself by staying alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Safety advocates recommend the following safety tips:
- Use your senses: Often you can feel a car approaching from behind and may even get a sense of how fast they are traveling by the sound of their engine. Pay attention to noises such as engine acceleration and tires or brakes squealing. In these situations, it may be wise to pull over and let them pass.
- Pick routes wisely: Do your best to avoid high traffic areas and roads with blind spots or where vehicles travel at high rates of speed. You have just as much right to travel these roads as any driver, but you can also play it safe by planning an alternate route.
- Be a responsible driver. Bicyclists are subject to many of the same laws as motor vehicles. This means riding with the flow of traffic and adhering to all stops signs and traffic signals. Be considerate on the road by avoiding sudden moves and signaling before making turns. Use headlights, rear deflectors, and wear light, bright-colored clothes to make yourself more visible.
Contact a Skilled Virginia Injury Attorney Today
Some of the most frequent injuries that clients of a Virginia bicycle accident attorney suffer include brain injuries, broken bones, paralysis, and spinal trauma. Our legal team understands that the injuries bike accident victims sustain can leave them with permanent disabilities that not only create physical limitations but also result in significant financial losses.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycle or any other type of motor vehicle accident, it is critical not to delay contacting the legal team at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn because Virginia injury laws have strict rules regarding how long you have to file your personal injury claim. If the statute of limitations expires, you will be unable to collect financial damages for any medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, or any other losses you or your family may be entitled to.
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