May is National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month

By Jan Hoen

The League of American Bicyclists has designated May as National Bike Month, dedicated to providing information on the benefits of biking and raising awareness about safety issues that affect those who pedal. The timing is appropriate, as the weather warms around Virginia and more people decide to travel by bicycle to work or for fun. However, statistics show that the increase in volume also means an increase in the potential for injury-causing accidents. You should discuss your legal options with a Virginia bicycle accident attorney if you are hurt, but some important safety information may also be useful.

Statistics on Bike Accidents

According to data reported in Virginia Department of Transportation’s Traffic Crash Facts, there were 13 fatal bicycle accidents and 591 incidents involving injuries in 2018. Other notable statistics include:

  • Bicycle riders are hurt or killed far more often than individuals in motorized vehicles. Of the 591 injury-causing accidents, the biker was the victim who was hurt in 590 collisions.
  • Riders aged 46-60 years old are at the greatest risk of deadly accidents, as eight of the 13 fatalities fall in this group.
  • More than 21% of riders who were injured in bicycle accidents suffered “serious” injuries, which means trauma to major body systems, broken bones, severe head injuries, and related trauma.

Safety Tips to Reduce Your Risk

The number one tip for reducing the risk of serious injuries is wearing a helmet at all times. In addition:

  • Wear brightly colored clothing to increase your visibility to motorists;
  • Use designated bike lanes where provided;
  • Always obey traffic laws, most of which apply to bicyclists as they do drivers;
  • Install proper lighting for riding at night;
  • Never grab onto a motorized vehicle to gain momentum; and,
  • Do not bring passengers onto any bicycle that is meant to be ridden solo.

Your Rights in a Bicycle Accident Claim

Bike collisions can occur regardless of obeying these safety tips, but you do have rights under Virginia law. You must be able to prove that the motorist who hit you failed to exercise reasonable caution while driving, and that this carelessness led to your injuries. Examples of negligence include:

  • Speeding;
  • Drunk driving;
  • Failure to yield; and,
  • Texting, using the phone, or other forms of distracted driving.

For most bicycle accidents, you file a claim for compensation with the responsible driver’s insurance company. There can be challenges with the process, since insurers will try to fight your claim to avoid payment. The claims adjuster may even contest liability and deny your claim on the grounds that you were partially at fault, which is a common ploy in bicycle accidents. If you cannot resolve your claim with the insurance company, you may need to take the matter to court.

Reach Out to a Skilled Virginia Bicycle Accidents Lawyer

Seeking compensation for your losses as the victim of a bike collision can be complex, especially when you are trying to recover from your injuries. You can rely on a Virginia bicycle accident attorney to fight for your rights in dealing with the insurance company or in court. Please contact Hampton Injury Law PLC today to schedule a case evaluation to learn more about your legal remedies.

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