Bicycle accidents can result from various factors, with road hazards significantly contributing. These hazards can catch cyclists off guard, leading to accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.
If a hazard caused your bike accident and resulted in a severe injury, The Eberst Law Firm can fight to help you obtain maximum compensation from those who were responsible. Call 1-888-CALL-JON or use our online form for a free case evaluation.
Bicycle Accident Statistics in the United States
You could argue that the most dangerous road hazards cyclists face are cars and trucks. In 2021, 961 riders across the country died in crashes with motor vehicles. Bike deaths have risen 55% since 2010. In Florida, 213 riders died, and 6,757 suffered injuries in 2022.
How Do Road Hazards Cause Bicycle Accidents?
But many other road hazards, such as potholes, debris, or uneven surfaces, can have devastating consequences for riders. These are elements or conditions on the road affecting bicycle stability, control, and overall safety. Here are a few of the ways hazards can lead to accidents.
Disruption of Balance
When cyclists encounter a sudden change in the road surface, that change can jolt their body and bike. The jolt can make it challenging to maintain proper balance, leading to wobbling, loss of control, and falls.
Loss of Traction
Hazards like gravel, sand, or wet leaves reduce the traction between the bike’s tires and the road surface. Reduced traction means cyclists have less control over their bike’s movements, especially while turning or braking. This can result in skidding, sliding, or fishtailing, ultimately leading to accidents.
Certain hazards, such as large debris, can cause a cyclist’s bike to come to a sudden stop. This abrupt deceleration can propel the cyclist over the handlebars, causing them to crash onto the road and suffer potentially catastrophic injuries.
Types of Road Hazards
Unlike motorists who have the protection of a vehicle’s frame, airbags, and seatbelts, cyclists are exposed to the elements. This lack of protection increases the severity of injuries when accidents occur due to road hazards. Cyclists can suffer fractures, abrasions, head injuries, and more, even in relatively low-speed accidents.
The following is a brief look at some of the hazards riders encounter:
Potholes are depressions or holes in the road surface caused by weather, traffic, road maintenance, and wear and tear. When a cyclist hits a pothole, it can result in a sudden and jarring impact.
This impact can disturb the cyclist’s balance, causing them to lose control of their bike. Depending on the size and depth of the pothole, a cyclist might be thrown off their bike or veer into traffic, resulting in accidents, injuries, and collisions with motor vehicles.
While sewer grates are essential for water drainage, poorly designed or oriented grates can be hazardous. Grates with gaps parallel to the direction of travel are particularly problematic. The narrow tires of a bicycle can get caught in these gaps, causing the front wheel to stop abruptly. This sudden stop can throw the cyclist over the handlebars or cause a loss of balance, leading to crashes.
Gravel and Sand
Loose gravel and sand on the road surface can create treacherous conditions. These tiny particles reduce a bike tire’s grip. This lack of control can result in loss of balance, falls, and collisions with obstacles or other road users.
Sticks and Debris
Fallen branches, sticks, and debris on the road pose a significant risk. When a bicycle tire comes into contact with them, the debris can lodge between the tire and the frame, suddenly causing the wheel to stop. This abrupt stop can throw the cyclist off balance or cause them to crash. Also, debris on the road can be challenging to spot, leaving cyclists little time to react, especially at higher speeds.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against the City for Poorly Maintained Roads?
In cases where a poorly maintained road or hazardous condition contributed to a cyclist’s accident, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the city or county responsible for road maintenance.
However, doing so can be complex. Plaintiffs must establish that the hazard was known or should have been known by the responsible entity and that the entity’s negligence led to the accident.
For example, suppose a bicyclist suffers a severe injury due to hitting a pothole. If the governmental entity responsible for road maintenance was aware of the pothole and failed to repair it after an extended time, the victim might be able to sue.
However, if the pothole only recently developed, and no one brought it to the attention of the city or county, then the victim more than likely couldn’t take legal action.
If you have any questions about whether or not you can sue the entity responsible for the road where the accident took place, contact an attorney with The Eberst Law Firm as soon as you can.
What if Another Person Causes My Bicycle Accident?
First, you’ll need to gather as much evidence as possible at the accident scene. This can include:
- Photographs of the accident scene, road conditions, and any relevant signage or signals.
- Statements from witnesses who saw the accident can provide valuable insights into what happened.
- Medical records, treatment plans, and bills. This documentation helps establish the extent of your damages.
- If law enforcement was involved, obtain a copy of the police report detailing the accident.
Next, you’ll need to hire legal representation. An attorney can guide you through the legal process, advise you on your rights, and help you build a compelling case. They can also negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company, so you receive fair compensation.
Personal injury cases often settle through negotiations with the insurer covering the at-fault party. Your attorney will work to achieve the best possible settlement for you. This settlement should cover your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other relevant damages.
If the insurer refuses to settle, your case might proceed to trial. Your attorney will present evidence, call witnesses, and argue your case before a judge and jury. A trial can be complex, but your attorney will protect your rights.
How Can The Eberst Law Firm Help You After a Bicycle Accident?
The Eberst Law Firm has extensive experience in bicycle accidents and many other personal injury cases. Our attorneys can answer all your questions, guide you through the legal process, and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free case review by contacting us online or calling 1-888-CALL-JON.