This is the first entry of my three part series on Bicycle Safety including information on reducing risk, types of injuries, insurance issues, liability, and litigation.
There is always a risk of injury when a person is learning or competing in a sport. Bicyclists face a unique challenge however, as many of our risks come from sources which are EXTERNAL to their own conduct or the act of cycling. More specifically, these risks come from the cars traveling around us and the condition of the roadways and surroundings in which we ride. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) bicycle fact sheet, every year nearly 50,000 people are injured in accidents that involve both vehicles and bikes. About 13,000 of those injured are children.
The types of injuries from vehicle-vs-bicycle accidents can be very severe, running the gamut from hand and wrist injuries, to broken collar bones and ribs, and even traumatic brain injuries.Answering the question: “Who pays for these injuries?” can be complicated. For instance did you know that in some states a bicyclist in a car-bike accident will generally turn to his/her CAR insurance to pay for medical bills and related damages? In other states or different circumstances, a bicyclist may instead need to turn to his health insurance, or homeowners/renters insurance for coverage. A good rule of thumb is to speak proactively with your insurance agent or a bicycle accident lawyer, such as myself, about improving your coverage. Try focusing first on the actual coverages, rather than the price of the policy when you do so. You’ll thank me if you’re ever hurt due to the negligence of another.