When a bicycle crash involving a motor vehicle occurs, most people think that it would be the fault of the bicyclist. In reality, it is more often the fault of the motor vehicle driver. Bicycle accidents can cause severe injuries to the cyclist since they don’t have any protection from the vehicle. Bicycle accidents can caused by a number of different things but by far the most common reason is that the driver just doesn’t see them.
In 2018, there were 857 cyclists that died in bicycle accidents in the United States. Bicycle fatalities occur most frequently between the hours of 6pm and 9pm, and they most often take place in urban areas compared to rural ones.
Distracted driving refers to any activity that takes the eyes, ears, or mind off the road. Driving is complex and requires focus. If any part of a driver is distracted, they’re at risk for causing an accident. We often think of texting or talking on the phone as the most common distractions, but there are many more, including:
- Using a GPS
- Applying makeup
- Talking to passenger
- Reaching for something in the back seat
- Online browsing
- Social media use
- Checking email
- Listening to music with headphones in
Driving Under the Influence
Driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is incredibly dangerous, but even more so for bicyclists who are on the road late at night. Even when wearing something reflective, the drunk or drugged driver may not see you. They may see you and be attractive to the reflective material, causing an accident. In 2016, alcohol was a contributing factor in 35% of all fatal bicycle accidents.
Aggressive or Inexperienced Drivers
When a driver is inexperienced, they may not know much about the rules of the road. While driving school teaches them the bare minimum, they still might not be used to sharing the road with cyclists. If they don’t check their blind spots enough or keep the minimum required distance between themselves and the cyclist, they could cause an accident.
Aggressive drivers could cause an accident the same way. If they’re in a rush or have road rage, they could cause an accident by cutting off a cyclist, swerving into the bike lanes, or not checking their blind spot. Aggressive driving can be considered grossly negligent, as aggressive drivers know what they’re doing, and oftentimes are aware that they could cause harm.
Door opening accidents occur when a vehicle is parked on the side of the road and the driver or passenger opens their door without checking to see if anyone is coming. Oftentimes they won’t see the cyclist, or expect that the cyclist will move out of the way, resulting in an accident. The cyclist will either hit the door, or swerve to avoid it—which could also cause them injury.
Improper Lane Changing & Merging
Most drivers pay more attention to other vehicles than they do to cyclists. Especially when merging lanes or changing lanes, this can cause a big problem. Cyclists are legally allowed to drive in an entire lane in Minnesota if that road has multiple lanes. For this reason, lane changing can be extremely dangerous if drivers don’t check their blind spots for cyclists before switching lanes or merging.
What to do if You’ve Been Involved in a Bicycle Accident
If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, the first thing you should do is file a police report. To do this, you’ll contact the non-emergency police line and alert them of the accident. While you’re waiting for them to show up, you should exchange information with the driver who hit you, as well as any witnesses. You should encourage the witnesses to stick around to speak with the police if they can.
You should then take pictures of the scene of the accident, including damage to your bicycle and the other vehicle. If you have injuries that are visible, you should take pictures of those as well. After speaking with the police officer, you should head to the hospital for a medical evaluation. Even if you don’t believe that you are injured, you should still receive medical attention. Some injuries may not present themselves right away, as they can be masked by adrenaline.
Before you speak with any insurance company, you should contact an attorney. An attorney can help ensure that the at-fault party’s insurance company doesn’t trick you into signing anything that may damage your case.
Contact a Minnesota Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accidents are not only dangerous, but they’re expensive. A bicycle accident can cause thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal injury damages depending on your injuries. Not only that, but more severe injuries can be life changing, affecting your quality of life and your ability to work in the future. A talented attorney can help you receive compensation for your injuries as well as for the pain and suffering you endured because of your injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, please contact our talented attorneys here at Sand Law. We have years of experience working on bicycle accident cases, and we’re ready to help you get the compensation that you deserve. For more information or a free case evaluation, please contact us online or at 651-291-7263.