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Riding a bike is great exercise and an inexpensive way to commute to work or school. However, it can also be dangerous, especially on high-traffic streets. About 50,000 bicyclists were injured or killed in traffic accidents in the United States in 2019.

Negligent drivers and poorly maintained roads both cause serious injuries to cyclists when they are thrown from their bikes in crashes. Some of the most common bicycle injuries are severe and take months or years to recover from. For example, head and neck injuries, bone fractures, and internal bleeding are serious injuries that can threaten cyclists’ lives and financial security.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact the Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Dudley DeBosier. You should not have to suffer physically and financially if the crash wasn’t your fault.

Common Serious Injuries in Bike Crashes

Bicycle crashes have a high potential for traumatic injuries because the cyclist has minimal protection. Head and neck injuries are life-threatening, but other injuries to the limbs and body can also be traumatic.

Head and neck injuries

Common head injuries in bicycle crashes include concussions, facial fractures, dental fractures, brain bleeding, and fractured vertebrae. These injuries require immediate medical attention. Wearing a helmet is vital to reducing the likelihood of potentially fatal head injuries, especially in collisions with cars and other vehicles.

Chest and abdomen injuries

Cyclists often suffer rib fractures and lung injuries in bike crashes. There is also the chance of impalement injuries because of the bike’s handlebars. Splenic rupture, pancreatic trauma, and traumatic hernias can occur due to the blunt force trauma of falling from a bike at high speeds.

Hip and limb injuries

Fractures and dislocations are the most common traumatic injuries to the limbs. Any bone is at risk of fracture during a bicycle crash. Large bone fractures like a femur or humerus can become life-threatening if they impede blood flow. Hips are very susceptible to fractures as well, which can severely limit injury victims’ mobility and take from six months to a year to fully heal.

Safe Riding Practices

The best way to avoid severe injuries while biking is to wear a helmet and ride defensively while watching out for distracted drivers and pedestrians.

Wearing a helmet is proven to reduce the severity of head injuries, hospital stay length, and risk of fatal injury. Meanwhile, defensive biking is a set of practices that aim to reduce the likelihood of motor vehicle-related crashes. Some practices include using a mirror mounted on the handlebars to check when traffic is approaching behind you, riding in designated bike lanes whenever possible, and avoiding biking during the most dangerous time to ride, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Riding when it is dark outside makes it harder for drivers to spot you.

Even when cyclists bike defensively and wear a helmet, crashes can occur because of negligent motorists, poorly maintained roads, and even faulty bicycle parts, for which the bike manufacturer may be held at fault. 

When is a Manufacturer Liable?

If a defective bike part is the reason for your crash, you may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Possible bike defects resulting in accident injuries include:

Defective bike frame

When a bike frame breaks, the rider will often lose control and crash. When this happens at high speed, you may pitch over the handlebars and sustain injuries to the head or neck.

Defective brakes

When your bicycle brakes fail, you may be unable to stop your bike, resulting in a collision with a vehicle or pedestrian.

Defective bike chain

If your bike chain breaks due to a defect and not ordinary wear-and-tear, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the bicycle or the company that provided the parts to the business that sold the bike. A broken bike chain can result in a crash because the rider can lose control of the bike. You may also fall off the bicycle if the wheel locks.

When is the City Liable?

Poor road conditions like potholes, cracks and missing patches of the road all present serious hazards for cyclists. It is the city’s responsibility to maintain the roads, so if you are injured due to poor road conditions, the city may owe you compensation.

With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you must prove that the poor road conditions were solely responsible for your crash and subsequent injury. You must also prove that the city was negligent in its lack of maintenance or warning about hazardous road conditions.

Collecting lots of evidence at the site of the crash can help your case. Images, videos, and eyewitnesses are good pieces of evidence. Your personal injury lawyer can help collect all the relevant information so you can focus on recovering from your injury.

When is a Motorist Liable?

If you are in a crash involving a car or motorcycle, the driver may owe you compensation for your injuries. Bikes are considered vehicles, and have equal rights to the road. Other vehicles must also follow the rules of the road around you. When a motorist breaks traffic laws, like not coming to a full stop at a stop sign, and causes a bike crash, they are liable for the cyclist’s injuries.

An Attorney Can Help You Recover Compensation

Work with the Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Dudley DeBosier to build a case against the party liable for your bike accident injuries. Whether a motorist, the city, or the manufacturer’s negligence caused your suffering, you deserve compensation.

Call us today for a free case evaluation to get started. Our personal injury lawyers are ready to fight for you every step of the way so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

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