While each and every bike accident in Philadelphia is different, there are only a small handful of reasons why most of them happen. Most of these have nothing to do with the cyclist. Instead, most bike accidents were caused by motor vehicle drivers, road hazards, or even dogs. Nevertheless, the people who suffer the most in bike crashes are the bikers, themselves.
Getting compensation for your injuries when the accident was not your fault can take the legal representation of the personal injury attorneys at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian.
Common Causes of Bike Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not just pay attention to motor vehicle crashes. They also look at the safety of bikers, motorcyclists, and even pedestrians.
One of the NHTSA's studies from 2012 focused on how these bikers and pedestrians interacted with cars and other motor vehicles on the roads of America. The goal of the survey was to find ways to make everyone safer, but the data that it collected shed some important light on the dangers of biking in Philadelphia.
Perhaps the most important finding in the study was that, out of everyone who had ridden a bike in the past two years, 3% of them reported being involved in a crash that was bad enough for them to need medical attention. Focusing on these cyclists who had been involved in a crash, the study found that there were six causes of bike accidents that accounted for the lion's share of the incidents:
- Hit by a car: 29%
- Fell from a bike: 17%
- The road or path was in poor condition: 13%
- Rider error: 13%
- Crashed into something: 7%
- Dog ran at biker: 4%
Most of these incidents – those that were caused by dogs, cars, and the poor repair of the roadway – happened through no fault of the biker. Whatever injuries these bikers suffered in the crash, therefore, should be compensated by the person or the people who were ultimately at fault.
Bike Accidents Caused by Cars or Trucks
The most common and the most severe bike accidents that you can be a part of in the city of Philadelphia are those that are caused by a motor vehicle like a car or a truck. These vehicles are extremely heavy and bring a lot of force with them into a collision, even if they were not going very fast at the time of the collision. Together with a biker's lack of safety equipment or protection – they often rely solely on their helmet to protect them in a crash – you can suffer severe injuries any time a motor vehicle hits you while you were riding a bike.
There are several ways for these kinds of crashes to happen, in Philadelphia.
Drivers who are distracted by other things have to split their focus between the road and whatever else is on their mind. These distractions come in a huge variety of forms, but often include:
- Phone calls
- GPS devices
- Music devices like CD players, MP3 players, or the radio
- Street signs
- Roadside ads
The lack of attention that distracted drivers pay to the road can be enough for them to miss the presence of a cyclist in a place where they did not expect them to be, or can distract them enough that they do not consider looking for them, at all.
People who are operating their motor vehicles negligently might be distracted, but they might also be paying full attention to the road and just make a mistake.
For example, many drivers who cause bike accidents with a cyclist notice the biker on the side of the road, but mistakenly think that they are giving the biker enough room when they pass. Drivers like these are paying full attention to the road and are not distracted by anything, but are still operating their vehicle in a negligent fashion.
Philadelphia has a reputation as a city that parties hard. If someone leaves one of these parties and gets behind the wheel, they can put bikers at risk through their inebriation and its effect on their ability to drive safely.
Poor Road Condition Can Also Cause Bike Crashes
Just because there was not a motor vehicle involved in your bike accident does not mean that it had to have been your fault. Poor road conditions can also cause a bike crash, leaving you blameless if you had no way of avoiding it.
Incidents like these are especially prominent in a historic city like Philadelphia, where many roads are narrow, poorly-lit, or paved in ways that are meant to preserve the city's historical charm. While cobblestone streets enhance the feel of a city, they are terrible for cyclists.
Dogs and Bike Accidents in Philadelphia
Finally, some bike accidents are caused by dogs running at or attacking passing bikers. Infamous for being territorial and chasing anything that could be perceived as threatening, dogs are often a biker's worst enemy, with many cyclists using especially problematic pets as landmarks along their route. If one of these animals gets loose, though, the problems they pose for a passing biker are not small: cyclists can be forced to take evasive maneuvers that put them in danger of getting hit by a car or risk the dog's wrath. When the dog's attack surprises the biker, though, their first reaction is often instinctual and can create a quick crash.
In these cases, once again, the accident was not the fault of the biker. Liability for the costs of the resulting crash can stretch to the dog's owner if reasonable actions were not taken to restrain the dog and prevent a very foreseeable accident.
Philadelphia Bike Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
The personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian strive to represent bikers who have been hurt on the roads of Philadelphia, regardless of the cause of their accident. Contact us online for the legal help you need to get the compensation you deserve.