Below are some of the most common causes of bicycle accident injuries:
Bike Accidents with Cars
When on a sidewalk, bicyclists are treated more like a pedestrian (F.S. 316.2065(10)). Vehicles have to yield to cyclists on crosswalks.
What if bike is going wrong way down street and someone pulls out into them without looking in that direction. And if child, not held to same standard, adult would have a serious comparative negligence problem. But, a recovery may be had nonetheless. Realistically, cyclists will be given more latitude when driving on a sidewalk (even though that might be in appropriate) or driving down the wrong way of a street. Even though, they are treated like cars…juries understand that, in reality, the scenarios differ (car on sidewalk is much more egregious than bike on sidewalk).
As bicycle accident injury attorneys, we always go to the scene. If there are lots of cyclists, then any driver who regularly goes down that route, should be more aware of his surroundings. In addition, pictures of the scene, damaged bike, picture of road rash + injuries are always helpful.
Dogs vs. bicycles.
Dogs chasing bicycle. Dog doesn’t even need to make contact with bike, if the scare results in cyclist taking reasonable evasive maneuvers that result in falling or colliding with object, the owner of the dog may be held responsible.
Bike Rental Injuries
Bicycle injuries are much more likely while using a bicycle you are unfamiliar with in a city where you are a tourist. You are not used to the traffic patterns, general driving behavior of the city’s motorists, and you are more likely to be distracted by the sights and scenes your tour guide brings to your attention. Bicycle riders may be injured when the chain unexpectedly slips, handle bars rotate, bike tire improperly inflated, seat collapses, etc… when contemplating a case against a bike rental company, we will consider such elements as:
- Was bike properly fitted/adjusted for renter?
- Was the bike appropriate for the terrain for which it would be used?
- Did client attempt to adjust bike him/herself? If so, bad case.
- Did the cyclist sign a release, if so, is the release valid and enforceable?
potholes, uneven pavement, wet, oily or slippery roads, etc…: Road defects such as potholes can be difficult to pursue because the bicycle injury lawyer must first determine if the defect is on public or private property (this brings up sovereign immunity issues). If the road defect is on a road that receives federal funding…the recipient of funds will be required to follow inspection criteria (especially with bridges).
Bike vs. Car Generally – injuries caused be road defects are inherently different when dealing with a car vs. road defect and bike accident caused by defect. A bike is inherently less stable and more susceptible to defects than a car. Bike is also much slower and more maneuverable than a car. So the rider is expected to be on higher alert for things in the road that may cause harm.
Bicycle Manufacturing Defect Causing Accident
Just like a car, the different components that make up a bicycle can malfunction. However, unlike cars, bike parts on a single bicycle often come from different manufacturers. Need to investigate whether the failed component came with the bike – or was separately purchased as an upgrade.
Recently, there was a recall on Cervelo bikes (very popular with cyclists, widely used on the tour de france) because the carbon forks were failing and causing significant injuries.
Carbon seat posts are subject to failure as well.
Helmets come in a variety of qualities…so defective helmets are viable claims. But need to differentiate between injuries victim would have sustained even if helmet did what it was supposed to do vs. those injuries that resulted from the rider wearing a defective helmet. This can be difficult.
Also, the helmet itself may be just fine…but simply not fit (or not worn correctly). There will be a comparative negligence issues here.
Bicycle Accident Statistics –Drunk cycling has grown – in 2009, there were 630 bike deaths in US (1/4th due to drunk cycling). Only 50% of cyclists wear helmets occasionally while riding, only 35% wear them every time while riding.
Common comparative negligence issues in bicycle personal injury cases: lack of lighting/reflectors for nighttime rides; cell phone use; headphones/music; and, of course, intoxication.