Ohio roads are becoming an increasingly dangerous place for bicyclists. The rising number of bicycle accidents has become a major concern for cyclists and drivers alike. While fatalities may seem minimal, the number of accidents resulting in serious injuries is on the rise. This is something that can’t be ignored. In 2023, there were a shocking 24 deaths caused by bicycle crashes on Ohio roads alone and over 1,000 deaths nationwide. These numbers are unacceptable and demand immediate attention. You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle or car accident. Contact the trusted attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to protect your rights and get the justice you deserve. If you are involved in a car-bicycle accident, remember the following: Bicycle accidents: What you need to know – Essential Guidelines.

C-R-A-S-H Safety Method 

 

The shock of a bicycle accident can make it difficult to remember how to protect yourself – especially if you were struck by a vehicle and sustained injuries. The first critical step is to stay calm and remember the acronym C-R-A-S-H to guide your actions following a bicycle crash.

 

C – Check for Injuries

 

Immediately after a collision, adrenaline can mask the severity of your injuries. While you might initially feel fine, taking a moment to assess your physical condition is essential. Look for any signs of bleeding, pain, or discomfort. Limit movement to prevent further harm if you suspect any serious injury.

 

R – Request Medical Assistance

 

If you are hurt, call 9-1-1 or ask someone nearby to call for you. Report the incident to the operator and specify that you need medical help. Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s wise to get examined by a healthcare professional, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Prompt medical attention is crucial for your health and can serve as vital evidence if you pursue a legal claim.

 

A – Ask for Information

 

Gathering information at the scene is pivotal. Obtain the driver’s license plate number and exchange contact details. Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses. Even if the police arrive and record this information, having an independent record can be invaluable. If you can, take photos and videos of the crash site, including vehicle/bike positions, road conditions, traffic signs, tire marks, debris, and any other visible damage. Also, look around for possible cameras on local businesses or residential doorbell cameras.

 

S – Save the Bicycle

 

Preserve the state of your bicycle, clothing, and protective gear, such as a helmet, as those items can be evidence of how the crash occurred and who was at fault. If possible, avoid repairing or altering the bike until it has been thoroughly inspected. Additionally, if you were wearing a fitness tracking device, save the data recorded on the day of the accident. This information can provide insights into your speed, path, and the time of the collision.

 

H – Hire an Attorney

 

If the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, dealing with insurance companies can be daunting. Insurance adjusters might attempt to minimize their payout or even avoid covering your claim altogether. Emergency room visits, medical treatments, surgeries, and ongoing care costs can quickly become overwhelming. Hiring an experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you navigate the complexities of your case, coordinate coverage, and seek fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

 

Why an Attorney Matters

 

An attorney specializing in bicycle accidents can:

  • Investigate the Accident: Attorneys gather evidence, interview witnesses, and work with accident reconstruction experts to build a strong case.
  • Negotiate with Insurance Companies: An attorney will handle communications with insurance companies, advocating for your best interest and ensuring you receive a fair settlement.
  • Represent You in Court: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney can take your case to court to fight for the compensation you deserve.
  • Provide Peace of Mind: Legal proceedings can be stressful and confusing. An attorney guides you through each step, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

 

Protecting Your Rights and Well-being

 

Adhering to the C-R-A-S-H steps after a bicycle accident can ensure you receive immediate medical care and protect your legal rights. These actions can significantly help prove your case and help your overall recovery process.

 

Additional Tips for Cyclists

 

While the aftermath of an accident is critical, taking preventive measures can also reduce your risk of being involved in a crash. Here are some tips to enhance your safety on the road:

  • Wear a Helmet: A helmet can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries in a crash.
  • Use Lights and Reflective Gear: Increase your visibility to motorists by using front and rear lights and wearing reflective clothing.
  • Follow Traffic Laws: Obeying traffic signals, signs, and lane markings can prevent accidents.
  • Stay Alert: Avoid distractions such as headphones or mobile devices while riding. Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Inspect Your Bicycle: Regularly check your bike for maintenance issues such as brake functionality, tire pressure, and chain condition.

 

Bicycling is a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transportation, but it also comes with risks. Understanding what to do in an accident and taking preventive safety measures can make a significant difference. If you are involved in a bicycle crash, remember to stay calm and follow the C-R-A-S-H steps to safeguard your health and legal rights.

Implementing these strategies can help ensure that your rides remain safe and enjoyable. If you need assistance or legal advice following a bicycle accident, don’t hesitate to contact a bicycle accident lawyer who can help you navigate the road to recovery.

 

Bicycle Accidents: Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

 

Over the better part of a century, our firm has represented numerous individuals injured on the road due to someone else’s negligence. Certain careless acts by drivers can be particularly dangerous for cyclists. Understanding the most common causes of bicycle accidents is crucial for cyclists and motorists. Our expert bicycle accident attorneys have compiled this comprehensive guide to help you stay safe on Ohio’s roads.

 

Opening a Vehicle Door Without Looking First

 

One of the most common and preventable causes of bicycle accidents is “dooring.” Dooring occurs when a person inside a car opens the door without checking for approaching cyclists. This simple act can result in a collision or force the cyclist to swerve into traffic, leading to potentially severe injuries.

In Ohio, as in many other states, the law requires that “No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic.” This emphasizes the motorist’s responsibility to ensure safety before opening doors, even when the vehicle is at a complete stop.

Key Takeaways:

  • Always check mirrors and blind spots before opening a car door.
  • Cyclists should stay alert and maintain a safe distance from parked cars.

 

Left Turns

 

Often referred to as a “left hook,” this type of accident occurs when a motorist makes a left turn or U-turn without adequately checking for cyclists. A vehicle can broadside or sideswipe a cyclist, who may have little time to react. The vulnerability of cyclists around cars makes these collisions particularly dangerous, often resulting in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.

Key Takeaways:

  • Motorists should double-check for cyclists before making left turns or U-turns.
  • Cyclists should be cautious at intersections and anticipate potential hazards.

 

Overtaking – Passing

 

Another frequent cause of accidents is passing a bicycle unsafely. Ohio law requires that motor vehicle drivers overtake and pass a bicycle at a safe distance, typically at least three feet. This rule considers the size and speed of the motor vehicle and the bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and road surface.

If a driver cannot safely overtake a cyclist with the required three feet of clearance, they must slow down and wait until it is safe to pass without endangering the cyclist.

Key Takeaways:

  • Motorists must give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when overtaking.
  • Cyclists should ride predictably and stay visible to drivers.

 

Parking Lot, Sidewalk, Crosswalk, and Driveway Collisions

 

Car accidents occur when drivers carelessly enter or exit parking lots or driveways. Failure to check their surroundings can result in collisions with cyclists legally riding on sidewalks, crosswalks, or driveways.

In Ohio, bicycles are permitted in areas besides roadways, underscoring the importance of motorists’ vigilance. It’s a common misconception that cyclists must always ride in the same direction as motor traffic. However, in some scenarios, they may travel differently, making it essential for motorists to look in all directions when navigating these areas.

Key Takeaways:

  • Motorists should be extra cautious when entering or exiting parking lots, driveways, and crosswalks.
  • Cyclists should remain vigilant and defensive when riding in these areas.

Even if you’re perfectly safe when riding a bicycle, one careless move by a motorist can result in serious injuries. If you were hurt in a bicycle crash that someone else caused, it’s important to seek legal advice.

 

Common Bicycle Accident Injuries

 

Cycling is a popular exercise, transportation, and recreation that millions worldwide enjoy. However, it also comes with its own set of risks. Unlike motorists, cyclists have minimal protection, making them highly vulnerable to injuries during accidents. Understanding the common types of injuries that can occur can help cyclists and motorists alike take precautionary measures and react appropriately in the event of a collision.

 

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Concussion

 

One of the most severe injuries a cyclist can sustain in an accident is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs can occur in various ways during a collision: the vehicle might strike the cyclist’s head, or the rider could be thrown to the ground or into an object. Even without a direct impact, a violent whipping motion of the head can result in a TBI.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs contribute to about 30% of all injury-related deaths in the United States. Survivors of a brain injury may experience impaired thinking, memory issues, movement difficulties, changes in sensation, or emotional dysfunction. These effects can last anywhere from a few days to a lifetime.

A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury, but there is nothing “mild” about it. Symptoms can be severe and even life-threatening in some cases. A brain bleed, also known as an intracranial hemorrhage or intracerebral hemorrhage, could occur, putting pressure on the brain against the skull. Because of the wide range of problems that a TBI can cause, seeking immediate medical care after a bicycle collision is crucial.

Key Points:

  • Causes: Direct impact, falls, or violent head movement.
  • Symptoms: Memory loss, impaired thinking, difficulty moving, emotional changes.
  • Action: Seek medical attention immediately.

Neck, Back, and Spinal Cord Injuries

 

A bicycle accident can also result in severe neck, back, and spinal cord injuries. The impact of a collision can cause fractures, muscle strains, and ruptured discs. These injuries can lead to chronic pain and, in severe cases, disability. The adrenaline rush following an accident can mask the severity of these injuries, making it essential to get a medical evaluation even if you don’t feel immediate pain.

Spinal cord injuries are particularly concerning because they can affect a person’s strength, sensation, and bodily functions. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, paralysis could occur.

Key Points:

  • Causes: Direct impact, falls, and whipping motions.
  • Symptoms: Pain, limited mobility, numbness, paralysis.
  • Action: Get medical care immediately, even if pain is not immediately felt.

Broken Bones and Fractures

 

Broken bones are another common injury in bicycle accidents. Cyclists can sustain fractures in the arms, legs, ribs, and collarbone due to the impact of a collision or fall. Broken bones often require immobilization and, in severe cases, surgical intervention. Recovery times can vary, but this injury often requires significant time off from cycling and other activities.

Key Points:

  • Causes: Impact on the ground, vehicles, or objects.
  • Symptoms: Pain, swelling, deformity, inability to move the affected limb.
  • Action: Seek medical attention for x-rays and appropriate treatment.

Lacerations and Abrasions

 

Cuts, scrapes, and bruises are common in bicycle accidents. While they may seem minor compared to fractures or TBIs, lacerations can become serious if not properly treated. Deep cuts may require stitches; all wounds should be cleaned to prevent infection.

Key Points:

  • Causes: Contact with the ground, vehicles, or debris.
  • Symptoms: Bleeding, pain, visible wounds.
  • Action: Clean wounds thoroughly and seek medical treatment for deep cuts.

Emotional Trauma and PTSD

 

Not all injuries in bicycle accidents are physical. The psychological impact of a crash can be profound and long-lasting. Cyclists involved in severe accidents may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), characterized by flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety. Emotional trauma can affect a person’s mood, memory, and ability to enjoy activities they once loved. It can also strain relationships and daily functioning.

Key Points:

  • Causes: Traumatic experience of the accident.
  • Symptoms: Flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, depression.
  • Action: Seek help from mental health professionals.

 

Bicycle Rider Responsibilities vs. Motorist Responsibilities

 

Cyclists and motorists are responsible for sharing the road, especially in Ohio and Michigan, where cycling is increasingly popular. Understanding these responsibilities enhances safety and fosters mutual respect among all road users.

 

Bicycle Rider Responsibilities

 

  1. Follow Traffic Laws: Cyclists must obey all traffic laws, including signal compliance and yielding the right-of-way when required.
  2. Ride on the Right Side: Cyclists should ride to the right side of the roadway unless they avoid obstacles or prepare for a left turn.
  3. Hand Signals: Cyclists use hand signals to communicate their intentions to other road users.
  4. Lighting Requirements: For night riding, bicycles must have a front white light visible from at least 500 feet and a rear red reflector or light.
  5. Helmet Usage: Helmets are recommended but not legally required for cyclists over the age of 14.

 

Motorist Responsibilities

 

  1. Safe Passing Law: Ohio and Michigan law requires a minimum three-foot passing distance when overtaking a cyclist.
  2. Yield to Bicycles: Motorists must yield to bikes at intersections and when bikes have the right-of-way.
  3. Avoid Bike Lanes: Drivers should avoid encroaching on designated bike lanes unless turning or parking.
  4. Check Before Opening Doors: Ensure that no cyclists are approaching before opening car doors to prevent dooring incidents.
  5. Speed Considerations: Motorists should reduce speed around cyclists, especially on roads with high bicycle traffic.

 

Shared Responsibilities

 

  1. Respect and Patience: Both cyclists and motorists should exercise patience and respect toward each other. Aggressive behavior can lead to accidents and road rage incidents.
  2. Awareness and Predictability: Being predictable and aware of the surroundings helps cyclists and motorists anticipate each other’s actions.
  3. Use of Technology: Helmets with built-in lights, rear-view mirrors for bicycles, and cars with advanced alert systems can enhance safety for all.
  4. Mutual Communication: Eye contact and clear signaling can prevent misunderstandings and collisions.

 

Tips for Cyclists

 

  1. Wear Bright Clothing: Increase your visibility by wearing bright and reflective clothing.
  2. Stay Alert: Always be aware of your surroundings and anticipate the actions of motorists.
  3. Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with state laws and local regulations regarding cycling.

 

Tips for Motorists

 

  1. Stay Vigilant: Watch for cyclists, especially in areas where bike lanes are present.
  2. Give Space: Ensure you give cyclists ample space when passing.
  3. Be Patient: Avoid aggressive driving behaviors such as honking or tailgating cyclists.

 

Know Your Legal Rights After a Cyclist Accident

 

You can claim damages if you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident caused by another party’s negligence. These damages encompass both economic and non-economic losses resulting from the incident. A personal injury claim intends to “make you whole” as much as possible, meaning that compensation is designed to return you to the state you were in before the accident, no better, no worse. While this isn’t always possible, you should strive for the justice and compensation you deserve.

 

What Are the Types of Damages in a Bicycle Accident Claim?

 

The specific damages you can collect will depend on the particulars of your accident. Here are the most common types of damage you might encounter.

 

Medical Expenses

 

Bicycle accidents are rarely minor. If someone crashed into you while you were riding, you’ve likely sustained severe injuries since bicycles offer minimal protection compared to motor vehicles.

The medical costs from the accident can be extensive and may include:

  • Doctor bills
  • Hospital bills
  • Prescription medications
  • Future medical costs
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation

 

If another person was at fault for your accident, they should be responsible for covering these costs, including past, current, and future expenses related to the incident. It’s crucial to understand if you will require ongoing or future treatments. Your lawyer should incorporate these costs into your total settlement to ensure you aren’t left paying for bills alone.

 

Lost Wages

 

A bicycle accident often necessitates time off work for recovery. You can claim this lost time as “lost wages.” The at-fault party should compensate you for the income you couldn’t earn during your recovery period. To substantiate your claim for lost wages, you’ll need evidence such as:

  • Past pay stubs
  • Former tax returns
  • Employer statements

A skilled bicycle accident lawyer will know the appropriate formula for calculating your lost wages accurately.

 

Lost Earning Capacity

 

In some cases, accident injuries can impact your ability to work permanently. You might suffer from disabilities or impairments that prevent you from performing your job as you did before. Head traumas, for example, are a common disabling condition that results from bike accidents.

If an accident affects your earning capacity, you might claim “loss of earning capacity.” This claim covers situations where you must work fewer hours or leave your job entirely due to the accident. The responsible party may need to compensate you for losing future income opportunities.

 

Property Damage

 

Bicycle accidents frequently result in significant damage to the bike itself. You can claim the costs for repairing or replacing your bicycle as part of your damages.

 

Pain and Suffering

 

While medical bills, lost wages, and property damage are economic damages, pain and suffering fall under non-economic losses. These are more difficult to quantify financially but are equally important. Pain and suffering can include:

  • Mental anguish
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Non-economic damages reflect the broader impact of your injuries on your life. Due to their subjective nature, it’s advisable to seek assistance from an experienced lawyer to calculate these losses accurately. Your lawyer may enlist a medical expert to discuss your symptoms and demonstrate how long your injuries might last and affect your life.

 

Wrongful Death Damages

 

Tragically, some bicycle accidents result in fatalities. If a loved one died in a bicycle accident caused by someone else, you might have grounds for a wrongful death claim. Certain family members can seek damages for the deceased.

Potential claimants in a wrongful death suit include:

  • Spouses of the deceased
  • Children of the deceased
  • Parents of the deceased
  • The deceased’s estate

 

Wrongful death laws can vary by state, so you must check the specific regulations in your jurisdiction before proceeding with a claim or lawsuit. Consulting a bicycle accident lawyer with experience in wrongful death claims is highly recommended.

Wrongful death damages can cover the following:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship

 

Punitive Damages

 

Punitive damages are a special category that is not always available in personal injury claims. These damages are awarded if the at-fault party’s actions were malicious or wanton. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer and deter future misconduct. Discuss with your lawyer whether you might be eligible to claim punitive damages.

 

Talk to a Bicycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today

 

If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident in Ohio or Michigan, seeking legal guidance is important to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault for a free consultation with experienced bicycle accident attorneys to help you navigate your claim.  By knowing your rights and options, you can focus on healing while your personal injury lawyer handles the complexities of your case.

Call Your Toledo Bicycle accident lawyers at 419-843-6663 to get started, or use our easy online contact form today.

If you reside in or around any of the areas we serve in Ohio and Michigan – MaumeeDefianceFremontFindlayLimaMansfieldToledo, and Monroe – and are searching for “the best bicycle accident attorney near me,” you can count on having the best Toledo bicycle accident lawyer at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to represent you in a personal injury or wrongful death case.  With a local personal injury attorney near you, help is just a phone call away.

Stay safe and informed, and happy cycling!