How to Prevent Bicycling Accidents & What to Do If It Happens
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 840 cyclists were killed in crashes in 2016. In Iowa alone this past year, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition reports 10 individuals lost their lives in a bicycle-related accident. By following some simple precautions, cyclists can protect themselves from crashes and injuries. Dennis VanDerGinst, CEO of VanDerGinst Law, P.C., elaborates on what cyclists can do to stay safe on the road and what to do if an unfortunate crash does happen.
“One of the smartest moves a cyclist can make is wearing a helmet,” urges VanDerGinst. VanDerGinst, who is passionate about establishing good helmet wearing habits from a young age, created Hard Headed Kids, a campaign that provides free helmets to children in the community in an effort to promote bike safety.
“And since cyclists must obey the same rules of the road as motorists, proper hand signaling is another safety tool every cyclist must know,” says VanDerGinst. If you need a refresher, check out the graphic below which explains the various positions used to signal.
“Cyclists can also help make their presence known by wearing reflective gear or having reflectors on their bike,” adds VanDerGinst. The options of gear and accessories are endless, from jackets and vests to even more creative options like gloves, socks, and even reflective wheel stripes. If you plan to ride when the sun goes down, reflective gear is a must.
Unfortunately, even with these precautions, accidents can happen. Not surprisingly, most accidents involve a motor vehicle. “The most dangerous areas are usually those where the bike paths intersect the roadway or run parallel to the street,” says VanDerGinst. “But despite motorists being a major factor in cycling accidents, we do see a fair number of accidents that don’t involve a vehicle at all but simply are caused by the terrain,” he adds.
Indeed, potholes and debris can spell disaster for cyclists, but do they constitute a personal injury case? “Don’t presume that there’s nothing you can do,” cautions VanDerGinst. “You could have a valid case against a private citizen, a third-party contractor or even a government entity.” In many cases, there are individuals responsible for maintaining paths and streets and their failure to do so could impose liability.
Perhaps the city failed to fix a defective road condition despite their knowledge of the danger and ample time to solve the problem. Maybe a contractor left wood or nails in the roadway during a construction job and failed to clean up. These “unnatural dangers” can be grounds for a lawsuit. On the flip side, however, there is an obligation for the cyclist to watch out for these dangers. “Comparative negligence can come into play,” explains VanDerGinst. “A settlement could be reduced based on the percentage of fault that lies with the cyclist.”
If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycling accident, contact VanDerGinst Law today. We have knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who can help guide you through the complexities of your case and help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve. The consultation is free and there is never a fee unless we win. Call VanDerGinst Law at 800-797-5391. The law is tough, being injured is tougher. We’ll make it easier for you.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Bicycle Safety https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety
Iowa Bicycle Coalition – 2018 Bicycle Fatalitieshttps://iowabicyclecoalition.org/crashreports/
The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.