In Albuquerque, New Mexico, there is almost never a bad time to ride a bike. Thanks to nearly year-round nice weather, Albuquerque roads almost always boast a biker – or several. While biking comes with numerous health benefits, and while individuals should never feel discouraged from choosing two wheels over four, they should be aware of the very real dangers associated with sharing the road with vehicles.
According to the CDC, just 1% of all trips taken in the United States are taken by bicycle. Despite this, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injuries and deaths than motorists do. This is due to the obvious fact that bicyclists are far less protected than drivers are when on the road. Contributing to bicyclists’ risk of accident-related injuries and fatalities is the rise of distracted driving.
Distracted Driving and Bicycle Accident Statistics
Distracted driving claims thousands of lives each year. Despite increasingly aggressive efforts to bring awareness to this issue, the number of lives lost only seems to go up. Sadly, bicyclists are often the victims of distracted driving. According to the journal of Public Health Reports, the number of bicyclists’ lives lost to distracted driving between 2005 and 2010 increased by 30%. Some other notable numbers are as follows:
- Adolescents aged 15-24 years old and adults aged 45 and older have the highest bicycle death rates of any other age group
- The groups with the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle injuries include children between 5 and 14 years of age and individuals aged 15-24 years old. These age groups account for as much as 60% of all bicycle-related injuries seen by U.S. emergency room departments.
- The majority of bicycle accidents occur in urban areas at non-intersection locations.
- Males are at a greater risk of being in a bicycle accident than females and, in fact, account for 83% of bicycle fatalities caused by distracted driving.
Though some groups are more at risk than others, any person who bikes is at risk of being involved in a distracted-related accident. For this reason, it is important to know how and why bicycle accidents occur and, more importantly, what you can do if you sustained injuries in an accident.
Common Types of Distracted Driving-Related Bicycle Accidents
There are dozens of ways in which distracted driving can result in a bicycle accident. As a bicyclist, you should not discount any scenario. However, there are some situations that are more common than others, such as the following:
- Failure To Yield at an Intersection: It is not uncommon for a driver to either not see or not register a bicyclist crossing an intersection. When this occurs, the driver may continue through the intersection at the same time as the cyclist and collide with him or her at a 90-degree angle.
- The Right Hook: In this situation, a vehicle drives along the left side of a cyclist and takes a sudden left turn, thereby either running into the cyclist or causing the cyclist to run into it.
- Side Swiping: This type of accident occurs when a vehicle overtakes a biking lane or when it gets too close to a travelling cyclist.
- The Right Cross: One of the most common bicycling accident scenarios, this type of incident occurs when a vehicle pulls out of a driveway, parking lot or side street and either hits a cyclist who is travelling down the road or forces the cyclist to hit it.
- The Left Cross: The left cross occurs when a vehicle is travelling in the opposite direction of the cyclist and makes a left turn into his or her path.
- The Open Door: In this scenario a car opens its door directly into an oncoming cyclist’s path, either causing the cyclist to run into the door or forcing him or her into the path of a moving vehicle.
In most bicycling accidents, the driver of the vehicle is at-fault. Even if you were at fault in your accident, though, your injuries and damages likely far exceed those of the driver. If the driver was even 1% at fault, you can pursue compensation for your losses via a personal injury lawsuit.
When To Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you were involved in a bicycle accident caused by a distracted driver, and if you sustained serious injuries, compensation from a personal injury claim or settlement can help you get your life back on track. To learn more about the claims process, and get the legal help you need to obtain the best possible outcome, reach out to the team at Hinkle Law Offices, LLC, today.