When two cars crash, the occupants are protected by the body of the car and safety equipment, including seatbelts and airbags. When a car crashes into a bicycle, however, the rider has no protection. For that reason, bicycle accidents can be deadly. Even when a rider survives a Philadelphia bike accident, devastating injuries can be life-changing.
A Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyer can help injury victims obtain the compensation they deserve. When accidents are fatal, surviving family members can turn to Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers to help them achieve justice.
Philadelphia Bike Accident Statistics
During the last year in which statistics are available, Pennsylvania bicycle accidents accounted for only about 1% of all traffic accidents, but they were responsible for 1.7% of all traffic accident deaths. They also account for 2.2% of all Pennsylvania crashes that result in an injury.
Almost half of all Pennsylvania bicycle accidents occur in Philadelphia. Nine bicyclists were killed in Philadelphia traffic accidents in 2015. The scarcity of protected bike lanes, with barriers to separate bicycle traffic from car lanes, is hazardous for Philadelphia residents who commute to work on a bicycle.
A disproportionate percentage of Pennsylvania bicycle accident victims are children between the ages of 5 to 14. About a fourth of all bike accident injury victims are within that age group. Teens between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for more than 15% of all bicycle injuries.
While kids often rely on bicycles as their primary form of transportation, biking is also popular with young adults, placing them at risk of injury from a bicycle accident. Almost a third of all Pennsylvania bike accident injuries are suffered by riders between the ages of 20 and 34.
About three-fourths of all injuries caused by a Pennsylvania bicycle accident occur during daylight hours. However, about half of all fatal bike accidents occur after dark, and almost half of those are on streets with poor lighting. Those statistics illustrate the importance of equipping a bicycle with adequate lights and reflectors, and of wearing reflective clothing when riding after dark.
Causes of Philadelphia Bicycle Accidents
Intersection accidents account for a majority of Philadelphia bike collisions that cause injuries. Drivers are required to yield to bicycles that have the right of way, just like any other vehicle, but drivers often think that bicyclists don’t have the same right to use the road as drivers of motor vehicles.
Drivers often have difficulty seeing bicyclists, even in daylight. That difficulty is partially related to the fact that bicycles are smaller than cars and trucks, which reduces their visibility. But studies show that drivers are conditioned to look for other cars when they arrive at an intersection. They may not see a bicycle rider who is plain sight because they are not looking for bicycles.
Studies have also established that drivers tend to underestimate the speed of an oncoming bicycle. Drivers may pull into an intersection — and cause an accident — because they mistakenly believe they have ample time to cross the road or complete a turn before a bicycle arrives.
Most Philadelphia bicycle accidents occur on city streets, but fatal accidents are most likely to occur when bicycles are riding on the side or shoulder of a highway. Failing to give the bicycle rider sufficient room to maneuver can cause a high-speed crash, often leading to the kind of injuries that the rider cannot survive.
Philadelphia bike accidents also occur when drivers are backing out of a parking spot or driveway. Again, drivers are conditioned to look for cars and trucks. They don’t always look for a bicyclist. Just as a child who is riding on a sidewalk may not notice that a car is about to back out of a driveway, a careless driver might not notice and yield to the young bicyclist.
The failure to observe a bicycle, to judge the bicycle’s speed accurately, or to give the bicycle sufficient room when passing are examples of negligence. When a driver’s negligence contributes to a Philadelphia bike accident, the injured bicycle rider is entitled to pursue compensation.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle accidents often cause serious — and sometimes fatal — injuries. Head injuries can be catastrophic when they lead to brain damage. Wearing a bicycle helmet reduces that risk, but no helmet can fully protect against a traumatic brain injury.
As riders fall from a bike, they typically try to cushion their fall with outstretched arms. For that reason, broken wrists and injuries to elbows and hands are common byproducts of a car crash involving a bicyclist.
Since bicycle riders do not have the protection provided by a car, they are at greater risk of sustaining a spinal injury as the result of an accident. A serious injury to neck or back vertebrae can result in full or partial paralysis and a lifetime of disability.
Other common nonlethal injuries from Philadelphia bike accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Knee injuries
- Facial injuries, including broken noses, scarring, and eye injuries
- Road rash
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue injuries (torn or stretched muscles, tendons, and ligaments)
When those injuries are caused by a negligent driver, the bicyclist is entitled to pursue compensation. When a bicycle rider is killed in a traffic accident, surviving family members can seek wrongful death compensation.
Philadelphia Bike Accident Compensation
Wrongful death lawsuits in Pennsylvania are usually initiated by the personal representative of the victim’s estate on behalf of the victim’s beneficiaries. The beneficiaries who may be entitled to share in the proceeds include the victim’s spouse, children, and parents.
How the proceeds of a wrongful death settlement are divided depends on the relationship of surviving beneficiaries to the victim. A Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can advise surviving family members of their entitlement to seek wrongful death compensation, as well as the kind of compensation (including lost earnings and lost services that the victim would have shared with family members) that can be awarded.
Injury victims who survive a Philadelphia bicycle accident are entitled to compensation if the accident was caused by a driver’s negligence. Compensation can replace lost income, pay medical expenses, and cover future financial losses that are caused by the injury. Compensation also helps bike accident victims cope with pain and suffering.
When a Philadelphia bike accident causes a catastrophic injury, such as brain damage or paralysis, compensation helps the victim purchase the services or products that may be needed to adapt to the disability. Wages for a caretaker and the cost of a wheelchair-accessible van are among the expenses that compensation should cover.
Top-Rated Philadelphia Attorneys Here To Help
A accident lawyer can help injury victims recover the compensation they deserve. Bike injury victims can call (610) 660-7780 to obtain a free case evaluation from our top rated lawyers to find out what options they have available to recover financially from their collision.