When it comes to automobile accidents, it probably comes as no surprise that those involving at least two vehicles are the ones that occur most frequently. But what many people don’t realize is that cyclists are also often at risk for being in an auto accident.
Cycling Accidents Hit an All-Time High
According to a recent article by Outside Online, “cyclist and pedestrian fatalities hit a 30-year high in 2018, as Americans buy bigger cars, use more distracting technology, and spend more time on the road.”
The article is extremely eye-opening, recounting how to avoid a cycling accident and what to do if you are hit by an automobile. For your convenience and protection, the G3 team feels it’s not only important to share this information* with you, but critical to your safety.
Avoiding a Cycling Accident
At G3, we understand your rights as a cyclist or pedestrian. No matter what, we’re here to protect and defend you. But that starts with ensuring you’re safe on the road. To help you avoid getting into a cycling accident in the first place, here are a few important tips to keep in mind:
Don’t ride against traffic and stay in bicycle lanes when possible (not on sidewalks). Following the flow of traffic and knowing where your safe zone is on the road is key to avoiding a cycling accident altogether.
Always wear the appropriate protective gear when on the road. Helmets, gloves, and durable clothing are your friends.
If you’re riding in the early mornings or late evenings, use a light on your helmet or bike to help others see you coming from a safe distance.
Keep a slow pace in busy intersections and on crowded roads! Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Better to be safe than sorry.
How to Handle the Aftermath if You Are Hit
- First, assess your surroundings.
Before getting up and moving around, take a moment to assess the situation and how you feel. Are you experiencing any noticeable pain or symptoms? Do you need immediate medical assistance? If so, stay still, call 911, and wait for help to arrive. If you aren’t noticeably injured, it’s still important to remain as still as possible and seek medical counsel as soon as you can.
- Make sure to get all the information and documentation needed to help your case later.
Don’t leave or let the driver leave the scene of the accident without providing proper documentation, such as their full name and insurance information, and get the officer on duty’s contact information when they arrive (in case you need them to be a legal reference later). Then, take photos and videos of your bike, the defendant’s car, and your surroundings. This evidence can often be the difference between winning or losing a case against the driver at fault.
Making an Example Out of Turner’s Experience
As a world-renowned cyclist, G3 Wreck Attorney, G. Turner Howard III, knows firsthand the dangers involved with being a cyclist on the road. Even when riding lawfully, cyclists are still at-risk for being hit by oncoming vehicles. And with the current COVID-19 outbreak putting more cyclists on the road, it’s a growing concern for Turner and the rest of the G3 Help Me team.
“While in Austria for the World Masters Road cycling championships, I was warming up the day before a big event. As I approached a standard European round-about intersection, a BMW suddenly swung around out of a blind spot and hit me before I could even react,” Turner recalls.
“I flipped over my handle bars while braking in an effort to avoid the car, but the damage was already done. Since I wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time (big mistake!), I hit my head on the edge of the concrete sidewalk. I ended up with an awful concussion and caused quite a scene— there was blood everywhere!
Once I was taken to the nearest ER, the trauma surgeon assigned to my case scrubbed loose gravel and debris from my forehead before stitching me up. I was forbidden to race the next day due to the blood loss (and I wasn’t happy about it). So what did I do? I raced anyway, feeling weak and nauseated the entire time. I placed 16th out of more than 80 contestants and spent the rest of my Europe trip unable to shake the fear of what could have been.
Today, I would never advise someone to continue riding after an accident like mine. Even more so, I’d tell them to wear their helmet anytime they get on a bike! Because now, when someone reminds me of the accident or I see old crash coverage in the media, I am reminded just how important it is. I got lucky, but not everyone does.”
Keeping You and Your Loved Ones Safe
If you or someone you know is a cyclist, it’s more important than ever to stay aware of your surroundings and practice safe road-side habits. If you’re a driver on the road today (which most of us are), it’s important to keep today’s economic standing in mind when operating your vehicle. More people are spending time exercising outside and enjoying the fresh air after being cooped up at home, and it’s our shared responsibility to protect our community from road-side cycling accidents.
Stay safe everyone. And know we’re here for you should you need us.
*The information in this post is sourced from an Outside Online article on what to do if you’re hit by a car.
G Turner Howard III
G3 Attorney, Wreck Attorney