Biking – whether to and from work or for recreational purposes – has become more and more popular throughout the United States. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported a 64% increase in the number of cyclists commuting to work between 2000 and 2012. Philadelphia is no exception to this trend. In fact, Philadelphia's urban setting has made it a focal point for the increase in biking: With destinations closer together and a younger crowd within the city's limits, biking is on the rise in Philadelphia.
However, transportation infrastructure in the United States has always been geared towards cars. Unfortunately, because our roads and transit ways saw bicycles as an alternative form of transportation, it has largely been up to bike advocacy groups to fight to make streets safe for bikers. In the meantime, bike accidents are common as cyclists struggle with cars for rights to the street. These crashes often leave cyclists with serious personal injuries that can take extensive recovery time and costly bills.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can happen in a variety of situations. The most common happen when the rider falls or encounters environmental hazards, like potholes. The most serious, though, involve crashes with cars or trucks on the roadway.
According to numbers provided by the NHTSA, two out of every three injuries sustained by bikers while on the road happened after falling from their bike, rider error, colliding with another biker or a dog, or hitting a road hazard. While these injuries were the lion's share of all of those sustained by cyclists, they were also many of the most minor injuries, largely comprising abrasions and bruises.
The remaining one out of every three cyclist injuries happened in a collision with a car. These injuries are often far more serious than those sustained from falling off a bike, and can even be fatal. These crashes are frequently caused by drivers who are not paying attention, or who do not give bike riders the space they need on the road.
Injuries in Bicycle Accidents are Often Serious
Whenever cars and bikes collide, the biker often suffers serious personal injuries because of their lack of protection and their vulnerability.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cyclists face a higher risk of sustaining a crash-related injury or fatality than people in cars, despite accounting for only 1% of trips taken in the U.S. This resulted in over 900 cyclists being killed in the United States in 2013 alone. Another 494,000 bikers were treated for their injuries in emergency rooms. The great majority of the most serious of these injuries were sustained in collisions with vehicles on the roadway.
Unfortunately, Philadelphia is not immune to the disturbing danger that bikers face on a daily basis. Despite its urban environment and interest in keeping bikers safe on the roads, there were no fewer than 551 bike crashes in Philadelphia in 2014, three of which were fatal. While high, this number has actually dropped considerably since the late 1990s, when bicycle accidents frequently topped 800 per year, even peaking at 1,058 in 1998.
Each one of these collisions with a motor vehicle can result in serious injuries to the biker. Broken bones are common in an accident involving a car and a bike, but more serious injuries, including back, neck, and head injuries, are also possible. This is especially true if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. While Pennsylvania law requires anyone under 12 to wear a helmet while riding a bike, helmets are highly recommended for riders over that age, as well. Nevertheless, many riders choose not to wear one when they hit the road.
Philadelphia Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Cycling is a great way to get to and from work, run errands, exercise, or just enjoy the day. However, it can also be dangerous. Collisions with cars are far from uncommon and can result in serious injuries that take extensive medical attention and long recovery times.
This is why the personal injury attorneys at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian represent cyclists who have been injured in an accident. By fighting for your rights and interests both in and out of court, our attorneys can ensure that you get the compensation that you need and deserve from those who caused your pain and suffering.
Contact our law firm online or call us at (800) 529-6162 to get the legal help you need to make a full recovery.