Recently in California several members of a group of cyclists were injured when they were clipped by a truck that was trying to pass them. Nine cyclists were on a 30-mile group ride when the incident occurred. The driver of the truck apparently tried to pass the group by squeezing between the group and oncoming
Bicycle Safety Blog Series Part 3: Bike Crashes and Insurance
This is the third and final entry of my three part series on Bicycle Safety including information on reducing risk, types of injuries, insurance issues, liability, and litigation.
Bicyclists not only face a high risk of injuries in a crash, they must also wade through the inevitable confusion from the fall-out of the crash. What insurance source will cover the damage to the bicycle? Is there coverage for the lost wages? To whom do they turn to address their medical expenses? Unfortunately, there is not always a clear answer, as the facts and local insurance laws will vary widely. In order to find the answer, one must sift through all of the insurance sources which may provide coverage for the answer. In some instances, the car insurance for the at-fault driver may be responsible for all of the injured cyclist’s injuries and related damages. In others, there may be a mix of carriers to deal with. For instance, in a “no-fault” (a.k.a. “PIP”) state like New Jersey, the bicyclist’s insurance carrier will likely be responsible for paying for necessary medical bills and possibly some wage benefits, even if the cyclist bears no liability for the accident. If the cyclist is at fault (wholly or partially), they may still find coverage for the property damage to their bicycle and related gear through their homeowner’s insurance. And, depending on the facts of the crash, general liability (“non-auto”) policies may be implicated (such as for defects in the maintenance of a property creating a hazardous condition). Disability insurance should also be considered where available. And a number of companies are now offering various forms of “bicycle insurance,” which may be able to provide protection for some or all of the typical losses. In short, you must look at EVERYTHING.…
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Bicycle Safety Blog Series Part 2: Types of Injuries from Bike Crashes
This is the second entry of my three part series on Bicycle Safety including information on reducing risk, types of injuries, insurance issues, liability, and litigation.
In our crowded urban environments, cyclists inevitably face significantly higher risks of crash-related deaths than would be faced by the occupant of a motor vehicle. How significant is the risk? Consider these statistics: despite the fact that only 1% of all trips in the United States are reportedly taken by bicycle, data from the CDC reveal that, in 2013 alone, over 900 bicyclists were killed, and an estimated 494,000 visits to the E.R. due to bicycle-related injuries. And data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicates that 33% of bicycle crashes with motor vehicles resulted in serious injury or death.
While we often refer to them as “accidents”, a collision between a car and a bicyclist is usually anything but an “accident.” That is, they don’t “just happen”. To the contrary, most collisions occur because of poor decisions or careless actions, such as when a motorist fails to yield. As such, the term “crash” is generally a better word because it doesn’t remove the concept of accountability for what occurred. Unfortunately, in a car vs. bike crash, the solid object into which the cyclist “crashes” is either a 3500 lb. car or the unforgiving pavement. The result of a crash can be VERY severe and, all too often, the result is even life-altering.…
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Bicycle Safety Blog Series Part 1: How to Reduce the Risk of Bike Accidents
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.…
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Bicycle Accidents with Vehicles and Pedetrians
I learned recently that bicycling has increased by 60% over the past 15 years. Once considered an activity associated mainly with exercise or with leisurely rides on summer vacations, biking has become a commonplace mode of primary transportation for many people in cities and suburbs across the country. With this increase in usage, there has also been a marked increase in the number of serious collisions that have occurred involving bikes and motor vehicles as well as collisions that have occurred with bikes and pedestrians.
In this blog, I will focus on a recent case where a cyclist collided with a truck that was parked on a roadway.…
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Innovations to Improve Cyclist Safety
Bicyclists in urban areas are often forced to interact with motorists in close proximity, which creates safety conflicts and leads to thousands of injuries every year. For cyclists who ride cautiously and in compliance with the law, the cause of these accidents is generally due to the motorists’ lack of attention to cyclists and other…
Improper Bike Fit and/or Body Mechanics Can Cause Shoulder & Neck Bain While Biking
Neck and shoulder stiffness and pain are a common complaint among cyclists. Many people incorrectly assume that this pain is the result of injury or is otherwise an inevitable result of the body position one takes while riding a traditional road bike.
Neither is necessarily true. Are you experiencing this type of pain? There are…
How Frequently Should You Change Your Bicycle Tires?
Bicycle tires should be changed when the tire wears out or otherwise becomes damaged, such that its integrity is compromised. Due to variations in environmental conditions, rubber compounds, individual weight/riding style and other such matters, it is impossible to give a very precise answer to this question. However, if you can answer “yes” to any…
How Frequently Should Your Bike Helmet Be Replaced?
Bicyclists are always encouraged to purchase and wear bicycle helmets, but once you buy one, that’s not the end of the story. Most helmet manufacturers and industry groups recommend replacing one’s bicycle helmet every 3-5 years, provided the helmet has not been subjected to a crash. However, if a helmet has served its role and…
Cycling – The Importance of Proper Bike Fit & Pedaling Technique
Ever wonder how pros competing in events like the Tour de France can spend 5+ hours in the saddle day-after-day? While part of it is certainly that they are elite athletes, they also have the benefit of working with coaches and other pros to insure their bikes fit the nuances of their body perfectly, and…