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Bicycle Accidents: When Bikes and Cars Collide

July 15th, 2019

The number of bicycle accidents that result in serious injuries, as well as associated costs, has continued to rise over the past two decades. Nearly 1,000 bicyclists are killed each year in accidents involving vehicles. A large percentage of these accidents are fatalities and can have devastating impacts on victims and their families.

Common Causes of Bike Accidents 

Accidents involving a bicycle and motor vehicle are most often caused by:

  • Driver inattention
  • Failure to yield
  • Bicyclist inattention
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • Night riding

“Side of the Road” Laws and Bike Lanes

All states have “side of the road” rules, which require bicyclists to always ride their bicycles on the far right side of the road, or if possible, in a bike lane. Conversely, obeying this rule actually causes three of the most common types of accidents between motor vehicles and bicyclists:

  • The bicyclist is struck by a vehicle turning right
  • The bicyclist is struck by a passing vehicle
  • The bicyclist hits the open door of a parked car

Steps to Take if You Have Been in a Bicycle Accident with a Vehicle

Most people are familiar with what to do after an accident involving two motor vehicles, but before hitting the road on your bike, you should be aware of what to do as a bicyclist if you are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. 

Get Off the Road

While a simple suggestion, a collision can create panic and confusion. If you are physically able to move and are still conscious, moving off the road will help prevent further injuries from oncoming vehicles that may not be able to see you.

Assess Injuries

Sometimes, even life-threatening injuries can initially appear or feel minor. Always check your bicycle helmet for any cracks. If your helmet is cracked, you should assume you have a concussion and need medical attention immediately.  

Call 9-1-1

Do not hesitate to call 9-1-1. Unlike collisions between cars, when you are in an accident on your bicycle, broken bones and severe injuries occur easier due to being exposed,  and you need to be evaluated by a medical professional.  

Police Report

Contact the police immediately. A police report can be instrumental in your case if you decide to pursue legal action. 

Exchange Contact and Insurance Information

Both parties should exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information including the name of the insurance company and policy number.

Witness Information

If there were any witnesses to the accident, they can help provide crucial insight into what really happened and provide testimony that may help you to meet your burden of proof when seeking compensation for your damages.

Professional Bike Inspection

When seeking to recover compensation, you must be able to prove your damages. Take your bicycle to a professional shop, so that the damage can be assessed and documented for your case. 

Accident Documentation

Take photos of the accident site, your injuries, the vehicle, the surrounding area, and your bicycle. Maintain well-kept records regarding medical bills, doctors’ notes, conversations with witnesses, and any time off from work. You should also keep a diary of your physical symptoms and limitations following the accident.  

Why You Shouldn’t Handle it Alone

A collision between a bicycle and a vehicle can be devastating physically, emotionally, and financially. 

The facts involved in each case are unique and, while the information contained in this article is useful for informational purposes, it is not advice for your specific situation. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Louisiana, it is important that you speak with a lawyer directly about your particular circumstances before determining how you should proceed.

Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys can work with you to ensure that your claim is handled properly, and you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.

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