Bicycle Accidents in Mississippi
Bicycle Accident Attorneys
More and more people are choosing to bicycle, both to and from work and for recreation and exercise. While bicycling can contribute to better health as well as helping you do your part to leave a smaller carbon footprint, the downside to bicycling is bicycle accidents. Unfortunately, when a passenger vehicle or an even larger truck strikes a bicyclist, the injuries to the bicyclist are likely to be serious, even fatal. Governing.com published data from a three-year (2010-2012) study on bicycle accidents. The state of Mississippi ranked 21st for the number of bicyclist fatalities at 1.7 fatalities per one million residents, averaging 5 bicyclist fatalities per year. On a per capita basis, the state of Florida ranked first in the number of bicycle accident fatalities, followed by Louisiana and New Mexico.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center states that while the number of bicycle injuries dropped from 50,000 in 2014 to 45,000 in 2015, only a fraction of bicycle accidents which cause injury are recorded by the police—perhaps even as low as 10 percent. Those killed in bicycle accidents represent about two percent of the total number of people killed and injured in 2015 traffic crashes, yet bicycle trips only account for one percent of all trips in the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the average age of a bicyclist killed in a crash has increased from 39 in 2004 to 45 in 2014, with males representing 88 percent of those killed in bicycle accidents. The vast majority of bicyclist fatalities occur in urban areas rather than rural areas.
Overcoming Bicyclist Stereotypes
To some extent, a portion of all drivers have the belief that bicyclists can be a reckless group of travelers who often fail to recognize obvious roadway dangers. In truth, the occasional irresponsible bicyclist who ignores traffic laws and rides without care or caution is almost always the exception, rather than the rule. The majority of bicyclists are respectful of the cars and pedestrians who share the roadways and always use good judgment and caution, following the safety rules of the road. An increase in the level of public education regarding bicyclists could significantly dispel the misperceptions some have toward bicyclists. Further, more care and less distraction on the part of drivers could significantly reduce the incidence of bicycle accidents.
What Are the Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
There are many causes of bicycle accidents, including the following:
- Vehicles opening a door into the path of oncoming bicyclist;
- Vehicles hitting a bicyclist in an intersection;
- Vehicles hitting a bicyclist during a left-hand turn;
- Hit and run bicycle accidents;
- Bicycle accidents caused by an impaired driver;
- Bicycle accidents caused by a distracted driver;
- Bicyclists hit from the rear by a driver, or
- Bicyclists hit as a result of a driver’s road rage.
Where Do Bicycle Accidents Occur?
Cities with high populations tend to be where the majority of bicycle accidents occur. That being said, college towns—even those which do not have a particularly high population—tend to rank much higher in bicycle accidents than their populations would suggest. A high proportion of college students use bicycles rather than vehicles as a method of saving money as well as allowing them to quickly get from one class to the next. Within these cities and college towns, a significant number of all accidents involving a cyclist occur at an intersection or in a personal driveway. When a bicyclist comes from a private drive, alley, side street or sidewalk, entering a roadway—usually in a residential area—the bicyclist can easily be hit by a driver who is not paying attention.
Other times, the bicyclist is legally occupying the roadway and is hit from behind by an overtaking vehicle, usually at night. In heavily urbanized areas, bicycle accidents are known as being “doored” occur often. This occurs when a driver stops, parking legally on the street, then, without properly looking, opens his or her door to exit the vehicle. The bicycle rider then slams into the open door. Injuries from any of these types of bicycle accidents can be severe—or fatal.
What Are Injuries Caused by Bicycle Accidents?
If you are hit by an automobile while riding a bicycle, you should always be checked out at the ER, even if you believe you are “fine.” The adrenaline rush caused by an accident can often mask injuries, therefore seeing a doctor immediately following the accident is always the right thing to do. In many cases, serious injuries can manifest once the adrenaline rush from the accident wears off. Minor injuries can morph into serious or permanent injuries later on when it is too late to identify the negligent or distracted driver. Most bicycle-related injuries occur to the upper and lower extremities, followed by the head, face, abdomen and neck.
Many bicycle accidents result in superficial abrasions (road rash), contusions and lacerations. Serious road rash can potentially involve partial or full skin thickness, requiring removal of embedded debris and potential infection. Strains, dislocations and fractures are also common bicycle injuries, causing swelling, lack of function, bruising and pain. More serious bicycle accidents can result in brain trauma and spinal cord injuries, resulting in months, years, or even a lifetime of medical treatments.
What to Do Following a Bicycle Accident
If you are able, take photographs at the scene and try to identify any potential witnesses. Particularly if the driver who hit you drove off before you could obtain any information from him or her, your description of the scene may allow the police to find the driver and make them take responsibility for your injuries. Keep a detailed journal of every single detail you can think of that could be important down the line should a lawsuit be necessary to make the driver pay for your injuries and damages.
You will want to carefully record all your physical symptoms and document through photos and notes the damage done to your bike as well. Never communicate with the insurance company prior to speaking with a highly experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney from Stroud, Flechas & Dalton. While the insurance company may appear as though they truly want to help you, it is much more likely they are simply gathering information to use against you later to deny your compensation. What you may see as an attempt, to be honest, could easily be turned on you later. Contact Stroud, Flechas & Dalton today for experienced, knowledgeable assistance following your Mississippi bicycle accident.