Washington is one of the most bicycle-friendly states in the country. In fact, a 2012 ranking of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. conducted by Bicycling Magazine ranked Seattle at number 10, highlighting existing clubs and races that draw members from all around. Yet while this great state may seem like paradise to those who ride on two wheels, local cyclists are still harmed in accidents with motorists.
Unfortunately, while fewer trips are taken by bicycle than other vehicles, cyclists are at a higher risk of being hurt or killed in a crash. According to an informational page provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 800 cyclists were killed on the road in 2010 alone, with another 515,000 visiting the emergency room after a crash.
Injuries Sustained in Bicycle Accidents Can Be Devastating
Unlike motorists and those driving in other closed motor vehicles, bicyclists have virtually no protection from exterior forces in the event of a crash. And due to this level of vulnerability, accidents involving bicycles often cause severe injuries.
A 2001 article written by Matthew J. Thompson and Frederick P. Rivara, both associated with the University of Washington School of Medicine, describes some common injuries sustained in bicycle accidents:
- muscle strains;
- broken or fractured bones, which often result after the rider collides with the ground, another motor vehicle or other property; and
- "road rash," a term that describes abrasions on the skin due to the rider skidding along on the ground after falling.
Additionally, head injuries are a common occurrence as a result of bicycle accidents and are most prevalent when riders are not wearing a helmet. The same article on bicycle-related injuries claims “head injuries occur in 22 to 47 percent of injured bicyclists…and are responsible for over 60 percent of all bicycle-related deaths and the majority of long-term disabilities.”
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
It is unfortunate that bicycle accidents can cause such severe and disabling injuries for the riders involved. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, there are certain actions that you can take to help facilitate your recovery and protect a potential claim:
- Report the accident. Give any information you have about the circumstances of the accident, but only stick to the facts of which you’re sure.
- Get information from the motorist. This is important if you plan to file a claim against the driver’s insurance.
- Document your injuries and see a doctor or other medical professional to help you assess your state and give you advice on the best course of treatment.
Many cyclists downplay their injuries after the accident, only to see symptoms appear later. Make sure to document any and all information about your injuries as soon as possible. This is also why it’s important to see a doctor – doing so allows the physician to evaluate your condition thoroughly and check for any ailments that may not be readily apparent.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney
Finally, after you have spoken with the police and sought help from a medical professional, contact a bicycle accident attorney at Max Meyers Law, PLLC. We can advise you on the best course of action when filing an accident claim and will ensure that your rights are protected as you progress through this trying time. Call us today at 425-399-7000 or contact us online.