Cycling is not only an ideal manner to get your daily exercise but also an excellent recreation method. Millions of people from around the globe are hopping on their bikes and enjoying the many benefits involved. It is also a favoured mode of transportation for numerous individuals, many of them preferring to commute to work by bike and thus make a tangible difference regarding environmental protection. This is worthy of applause, of course, but there are a number of cycling-associated drawbacks that must be pointed out, and road accidents are the most significant.
The number of cyclists has undoubtedly increased in recent years, but so has the number of accidents. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, about 49,000 pedal cyclists got injured in 2019, a 5.4% upsurge from the prior year. On the UK’s roads, the numbers are not less alarming, as an estimated 4,300 injuries were reported in 2021. The sad truth is that 111 cyclists died from a fatal road cycling accident in the same year.
People certainly need to be more mindful on the road, but is there anything else that might explain the cause of these cycling-related accidents? Let us delve deeper into the subject and explore potential causes, common accident types, injuries, and more.
Common causes of cycling accidents
Although there are specially designed paths for cyclists, they still have to share the road with other drivers, which sometimes leads to collisions or other types of accidents. And while there might not be a specific cause for these crashes, lack of road education and awareness undoubtedly play their part in this sense.
Knowing the specific cause of an accident is crucial, as it helps determine its circumstances. Plus, this helps prove the party at fault and further proceed with filing a claim against the negligent party. Suppose you are an experienced cyclist with adequate knowledge of the highway code. You can still be involved in an accident - that is because this is not always up to you. So, let us delve into the most common causes of accidents that imply two-wheeled or pedal-powered machines; these insights may further help you assess your case and increase your road awareness.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of road collisions, including those relating to bicycles. When a driver is distracted, let us say, by their smartphone, they fail to pay proper attention to the road and hence notice other drivers as consistently as they should. This issue must be particularly emphasised when cycling in an urban area, as these areas involve greater risk. In case you enjoy pedalling, it would be advisable to avoid using social media, talking on the phone, or responding to a text message - whatever it would be, it can wait until you reach your destination.
Driving under the influence
Impaired driving is sadly one of the most common causes of road accidents, so what is to be done? There is undoubtedly a need for more education and awareness among drivers to understand the risk. Drug impairment and alcohol reduce cyclists’ capacity to make smart decisions, so ensure you are not under the influence when jumping behind the wheel and, preferably, on no occasion.
Dangerous road conditions
Let us face it - there are not always the most favourable road conditions when cycling. The most frequent issues include adverse weather, low visibility, and heavy traffic. Indeed, these are often unavoidable, but there are still some simple habits you can adopt before hitting the road. So, ensure you check the weather and route you are going to travel in advance so that you can have a clearer idea of the street conditions. There are mobile apps specially designed to help in this sense, so it will only take a few minutes to look at all these details.
Speeding is not only a toxic habit one can adopt but also a leading cause of road accidents, and that is because it limits the time cyclists have to make rational decisions. Even if driving at high speed increases the chance of a more severe accident, this does not mean mild speed could not lead to some sort of collision.
Cycling accidents caused by speed are quite common, so it is essential to assess the risk and inform yourself about the steps involved in case of such an unfortunate event. Suppose another driver’s negligence is the reason for the accident and that it caused you injuries. In this case, you have to take legal action apart from asking for proper medical help. Claiming compensation for cycling accidents in the UK is possible, but you may want to benefit from the support and expertise of a professional injury lawyer in this sense. They can adequately guide you on this sometimes-obstacle-ridden legal path and help you receive the deserved compensation.
Types of accidents involving cyclists
There might be multiple circumstances in which an accident happens. Some lead to mild, and some lead to severe or even fatal accidents. Anyway, some types of cycling accidents are more common than others. Find below the most frequent ones:
§ in-line right turn accidents
§ incoming right turn collisions (“right cross accidents”)
§ rear-end collisions
§ left turn accidents
Injuries sustained in cycling accidents
Cycling accidents can cause various injuries, some milder than others. Whatever the case, one thing is sure - these are uncomfortable and sometimes hard to manage.
Here are some of the most common injuries to cyclists:
§ soft tissue injuries
§ spinal cord injuries
§ cuts, sprains, scrapes, dislocations
§ broken bones
§ head injuries
§ psychological injuries
More severe but also quite rare injuries include paralysis and amputation.
The culture of bicycle use is becoming increasingly more adopted, as numerous individuals around the globe have made their choice. Still, not all cyclists are aware of the road codes and the related risks; that is why it is crucial to enhance road training for drivers and cyclists.