What to Do After a Bicycle Accident

No matter how carefully you ride your bike, a bicycle accident may inevitably happen. There are more bicyclists on the roads than ever before, and that means there is more potential for bicycle accidents. Since 2000, the number of people riding their bikes to work increased by 60%.

Many cities have taken action to increase safety for bicyclists, including developing designated bike lanes and providing public safety information. Many other cities have not taken these steps, however, and bicycle-related accidents continue to be a problem.

Cycling in the Old Pueblo

Last year Bicycling magazine compiled a list of the “Best Bike Cities in America;” Tucson ranked 24th out of 50 cities. The editors cited Tucson’s extensive network of off-street bike paths and Tucson’s Bicycle Boulevard Master Plan, which aims to develop 193 miles of bicycle boulevards in the city, as  positives. They noted that Tucson’s high fatality rate for bicyclists (six deaths per 10,000 riders) prevented them from ranking the Old Pueblo higher.

In spite of Tucson’s commitment to making the streets safer for cyclists, Tucson has nearly the highest rate of accidents involving bicycles in the US. In 2017 Forbes magazine dubbed Tucson the second most dangerous city for riding a bicycle.

Both drivers and bicyclists should be aware of some of the most frequent causes of bicycle accidents. These include distracted driving (both driver and bicyclist), failure to yield to a bicycle, dangerous road conditions, and riding at night.

Bicycle Safety

May is National Bike Month, where cyclists celebrate the many benefits of bicycling. But first and foremost, safe cycling is the priority for young and old.

To help keep riders safe, Pima County offers bicycle safety classes that include Traffic Skills 101 and a bicycle mechanics class. Riders can also learn about the Pima County Bike Buddy Program that teams experienced riders with novice cyclists. The safety classes may include free bike safety items such as lights, helmets, and locks. 

The top bicycle safety tip promoted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association is to wear a helmet. Riders and parents with young children should also ensure that helmets fit properly, because an ill-fitting helmet may offer little to no protection in the event of a fall or a collision.

NHTSA’s bicycle safety initiatives provide the following tips for safe cycling:

Tips if You Get In a Bike Accident

Even if you’re careful, you may find yourself involved in a bicycle accident. If injured, you should know what to do in the aftermath. Consumer Reports provides some tips to help you know what to do in the event of a crash.

  • Move off the road and assess your injuries. The shock of the crash may mask what you feel at the scene; injuries may reveal themselves once the shock wears off.
  • Either you or someone at the scene (if you are unable to do so) should get information from the driver of the vehicle, including their phone number, information about their car, license plate, and insurance information.
  • It is a good idea to take a picture of the license plate and the driver’s insurance card. Also get names and contact information from any witnesses at the scene.
  • Call 911 to report the crash. If you are injured, the police should come to the scene and prepare an incident report. Ask the driver to stay at the scene until police arrive.
  • At this point you may not know the extent of your injuries and damages, so avoid accepting any offers of compensation from the driver.
  • Make sure you write down the details of the crash for yourself so you can remember exactly what happened.
  • Depending on your injuries you may not need to be transported by ambulance, but it is important to get yourself checked as soon as possible. Even if you don’t feel injured at the moment, it is always a good idea to get medical attention.
  • Likewise, get your bike inspected to make sure there isn’t any hidden damage that could crop up later.
  • Talk to an attorney before making any statement to the insurance company, especially if you’re injured.
  • Finally, read more tips to keep safe when riding a bicycle.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, consult the experienced bicycle injury attorneys at Hollingsworth Kelly.

Bicycle Safety: Learn to Bike Defensively

When Tom purchased a new bike, he decided to do some research about bicycle safety. He wanted to learn about the top causes of bicycle accidents.

Sometime later, while riding his new bicycle in the bike lane of a busy, downtown street, Tom noticed a vehicle approaching from a side street. He kept his attention focused on three things—traffic behind him, traffic ahead of him, and the vehicle approaching from the right. Tom assumed the driver was not going to come to a full stop at the stop sign, but instead would pull out in front of him.

In researching bicycle safety, Tom was prepared for what most people would consider the unthinkable. His newly acquired safety awareness prompted him to slow down and swerve to the right just in time to avoid a collision. But he didn’t escape completely unharmed–Tom’s bike slammed into a concrete block and he flew through the air, landing on his back.

Although the driver did as Tom had anticipated, he didn’t need an explanation from the driver to understand what had likely just happened.

By keeping an eye on the street behind him, Tom had noticed there was a break in traffic. Tom guessed the driver was impatient and might decide to make a right turn before another wave of traffic could cause him a delay, which is exactly what happened.

The driver accelerated and quickly pulled onto the street, running the stop sign and cutting off the approaching bicyclist.

Tucson Bicycle Accident Statistics

According to Tucson Bicycle Crash Database, the top intersections for bicycle accidents are Grant and Alvernon and Grant and Mountain. The intersections at 22nd Street and Kolb Road and First Avenue and Ft. Lowell Road are tied for second most dangerous for cyclists. The worst time of day for bicycle accidents are during rush hour, between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m.

TBCD reports that in Tucson, the following are the most common types of bicycle/vehicle collisions:

23% – Right-turning vehicle with a bicyclist riding on the wrong side of the street;

17% – Bicyclist and vehicle colliding in an intersection;

13.4% – Left-hook where a motorist makes a left turn at an intersection and does not see the approaching bicyclist;

12.6% – Right-hook where the motorist makes a right turn directly in front of the bicyclist.

To learn more about the most frequent types of bicycle accidents in Tucson, visit Tucson Bicycle Crash Database.

Pima County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program

The Pima County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, launched to promote bicycle use and safety, offers free bicycle training, support and equipment to local residents.

During November and December the program will be offering free bicycle classes:

UA Area Bike Ride                          Nov 9 and Dec 1

Get Back on Your Bike                   Nov 14 and Dec 19

Mountain Bike Classes                  Nov 7

Traffic Skills 101                              Two-part classes starting Nov 10

Traffic Skills 101 for Women          Dec 10 and Dec 12

To help people who are new to bicycling or need a refresher to become more confident bike riders, the Bike Buddy Program offers one-on-one support and training with experienced bicycle instructors.

For more information or to sign up for the free bicycle classes or the Bike Buddy program, call 520-724-2453.

 

 

Tricycle Injuries Mean Trip to the ER for Thousands of Toddlers

It’s a rite of passage, when a little tyke gets his or her new tricycle. But how many parents are aware they may be prematurely buying a tricycle for their toddler?

According to a study at Medical College of Georgia and Emory University, tricycles were responsible for more than 9,000 injuries that resulted in trips to the emergency room in 2012 and 2013. Two-year-olds were the age group most frequently suffering tricycle injuries.

A small percentage of children had to be hospitalized with serious trauma including head injury, fractures, and organ damage.

Pediatricians: Wait Until a Child Turns 3 to buy a Tricycle

It’s no surprise that the American Academy of Pediatrics is advising parents to wait until their children are three years old to introduce them to a tricycle. By then a child will have the balance and coordination they need to master their new three-wheeler.

The Academy also recommends that parents look for tricycles that are low to the ground and have big wheels, which are less likely to tip over.

And no matter the age or the size of the bike, children should always wear a helmet when they go for a ride.