Biking has risen in popularity in recent years, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Cyclists enjoy commuting to work and exercising outdoors, and many cities have attempted to make their streets safer for bike riders and pedestrians. However, cyclists can still suffer significant injuries when a car or motorcycle runs into them. In many cases, such injuries can be severe, catastrophic, or even fatal. It’s worth taking a look at some common hazards for cyclists throughout Washington state, and how drivers and bikers alike can take steps to reducing the likelihood of a collision in the future.
What the Data Shows
In 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) identified the top ten most common types of bicycle accidents, with “motorist overtaking bicyclist” as contributing to 25 percent of all bicyclist fatalities. Cyclists who failed to yield or who made a left turn were also associated with injuries and fatalities. Closer to home, the Washington State Department of Transportation reported a total of 1,453 collisions involving a motorist and a bicyclist in 2015, 13 of which were fatal. Although more current data is not yet available, the numbers are expected to be even higher for recent years.
Analysts suggest that most collisions between cyclists and motorists are caused by lack of visibility or inattentiveness. For instance, drivers may not think to check their mirrors for cyclists, or a cyclist may be wearing dark clothing and fail to grab the driver’s attention. Additionally, drivers who are distracted by their phones or other devices may be less likely to look out for cyclists and pedestrians, as their attention is divided. Health experts also stress the importance of wearing a helmet while riding a bike, as they may protect the cyclist from severe brain injuries that cause lasting or permanent damage. As Washington state continues to plan for greater pedestrian and bicycle accessibility, officials are encouraged to think of ways of promoting visibility as much as possible.
When an Accident Happens
Even if you’ve been as safe as possible, accidents still happen. As soon as you’ve sustained an injury in a bike-related accident, you should determine whether you need immediate medical attention. As you wait for help to arrive, gather the contact information of the other driver and any additional witnesses. Even if you don’t need immediate medical assistance, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor within the next few days to rule out any brain injuries or harder-to-detect conditions. Then, consider reaching out to a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can help you pursue compensation after this unfortunate incident. Any compensation you recover can go towards covering your medical bills, lost wages, and other costs associated with your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto or bicycle accident in the Vancouver or Battle Ground area, the trusted and experienced personal injury attorneys at Henderson Taylor Law Firm are here to help. Call (360) 737-1478 today to speak to a compassionate and knowledgeable attorney.