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Southern California Bicycle Law Blog

Bike accident head trauma: What age group is most at risk?

The most serious bicycle accidents are those leading to head trauma and injuries. In some cases, these are just exterior injuries, such as lacerations, bruises and even fractures. In other cases, they are interior injuries, which are often brain injuries.

Though some brain injuries can happen with very little exterior damage due to the violent movement of the brain inside the skull -- even with a helmet on -- many cases involve both types of damage. The ramifications are serious and the medical bills can be extensive.

The tragic reason 1 cyclist quit road biking

You know that cyclists and drivers should share the road. Cyclists have every bit as much of a right to that space as any car. They need a safe space to ride.

That doesn't mean they get it, unfortunately. Any cyclist can tell you plenty of stories about angry, impatient drivers, near misses, accidents and other such incidents. They happen constantly. Cyclists often bear the highest level of risk because they have the least protection in a crash.

Bicyclist injury and fatality statistics

Whether you use your bike to commute to work, achieve your fitness goals or make a living, it is an integral part of your life. Due to the frequency with which you bike, it is essential for you to know about bicycle safety statistics.

When you are aware of the inherent risks of bicycling, you can take steps to be a safer cyclist. Here areĀ some key numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Safety Council and 2012 National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors.

Accident reminds cyclists of parking lot dangers

Cyclists need to be aware of the risks that they face whenever they ride around traffic. They can never let their guard down. Even places that feel relatively safe can lead to serious injuries in accidents.

For instance, a recent crash happened in Pacific Palisades, California, near the West Pacific Coast Highway. It appears that a car overturned in a parking lot and hit a cyclist. The traffic on the road itself was allowed to continue unimpeded, but the Los Angeles Fire Department did have to respond to the incident and found that the cyclist had critical injuries. They quickly rushed that cyclist to a medical center for emergency treatment.

Trends in cycling fatality statistics

News cycles come and go. If a few bicycle accidents happen in a short period of time, you start to feel like cycling is more dangerous than it's ever been before. You wonder if you should look for a new hobby or a new means of transportation.

But what do the statistics tell you? Just how dangerous is cycling in California?

Drivers: Here's how you can protect cyclists and share the road

Drivers and cyclists have an obligation to share the road, but it does not always go that smoothly. In some cases, the two groups feel a sense of resentment toward each other. In other cases, people just honestly do not know how to share the road properly.

To help, here are a few things drivers should always do to protect cyclists and prevent accidents:

  • Never blindly open a door on a parked car without checking to see if a cyclist is coming down the street.
  • Be especially wary of children, who love to ride bikes but who often act impulsively and unpredictably.
  • When cyclists have the right of way at an intersection, yield it to them and patiently wait for them before driving. Don't try to rush them or cut in front of them.
  • Keep your distance. Stay in your lane, but don't crowd a cyclist in the bike lane.
  • Never park in bike lanes or drive in them. If you have to cross them, always check blind spots carefully.
  • When passing, do it slowly. Don't attempt to speed past a bike or pass when you don't have room. Be cautious, as this is one of the most dangerous times for a cyclist.
  • Be very careful when making a turn. Intersections lead to increased danger because many drivers only look for other cars, and they miss cyclists entirely.

6 types of dangerous bike vs. car accidents

Bicycle versus car accidents can happen in many ways, but studies have found some of the most common types of crashes. If both drivers and cyclists are aware of these accidents, they may be able to take steps to prevent or avoid them.

That does not mean accidents won't happen. People make mistakes, and vigilance and a commitment to safety are required to avoid these critical errors. Even good drivers suffer from lapses in judgment. However, education is the first step toward making the roads safer, so here are six of these common types of collisions to keep in mind:

  1. At an intersection, the driver has a stop sign and the cyclist doesn't, but the car pulls out into the bicycle's path.
  2. Similarly, the cyclist has a stop sign and the driver does not, but the cyclist rides out into the path of the car.
  3. A driver pulls out into the road from behind an obstruction, such as emerging from an alley between two buildings, where the driver cannot see the cyclist in the road and the cyclist cannot see the car.
  4. The driver turns left into the path of the bicycle, crossing into the cyclist's lane.
  5. The cyclist slows down to turn left and gets struck from behind by a car in the same lane.
  6. The driver attempts to turn to the right and hits a cyclist who is going straight but, due to staying near the shoulder, is actually on the right side of the car.

3 tips for holiday shopping on your bicycle

The holiday season can be tricky for a bike enthusiast. Whether you do not have a car or simply prefer to ride your bicycle, you may wonder how you will manage shopping for the holidays. Holiday shopping by bike may be a little challenging at first, but it is possible if you get the right gear and prepare yourself for madness on the roads.

Whether you are purchasing a holiday feast from the grocery store or buying presents at the mall, you can accomplish it all on your bike. Here are some tips for safely and effectively shopping by bicycle.

Tips for treating road rash after a bike accident

People sometimes think of road rash as a "minor" injury in a bicycling accident. Compared to a head or brain injury, it is relatively minor, but this doesn't mean you should underestimate the impact. It can be incredibly painful and keep you out of work. It can get infected and lead to serious complications. It can lead to scarring that forever changes your appearance. You have to take road rash seriously.

To that end, here are a few tips for treating road rash after an accident:

  • Use water to clean the injury site as soon as you can.
  • While cleaning the wound, try to dab at the area, rather than scrubbing.
  • Add Neosporin or a similar ointment to help the wound heal and to prevent infection.
  • Wrap the area with bandages.
  • Change those bandages on a daily basis, adding more ointment or cleaning the site as needed.
  • Add a moisturizer and massage the area. This can reduce the chances that you'll be left with a serious scar.

Key statistics about bicycle accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) often looks at bicycle accident statistics in an effort to figure out how to make the roads safer for cyclists. There will always be an inherent danger, but that does not mean steps can't be taken to protect cyclists. Many accidents are easily avoidable.

To get a better idea of the level of risk in the United States, here are a few key statistics from NHTSA:

  • The most fatal bicycle accidents happened from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This is interesting because that is still during daylight hours, so a lack of visibility did not necessarily play a role. This time frame is when 20 percent of deadly accidents occurred.
  • By a wide margin, cycling in urban areas was more dangerous than rural areas. A full 71 percent of the deadly wrecks happened on urban streets.
  • Overall, cyclists make up a very small percentage of traffic fatalities. In 2016, for instance, they made up just 2.2 percent of the total.
  • Roughly one out of three accidents involved alcohol (29 percent). This counts use by both cyclists and drivers, and it only counts cases in which one person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at the legal limit of .08 percent or greater.
  • Men face far higher risks. A full 84 percent of cyclists who died in these accidents were men, and just 16 percent were women.
  • Most injuries to men happened to those who ranged in age from 55 years old to 59 years old. This is interesting because it is often assumed that young people face higher risks.
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