What to do If You Are in a Bicycle Accident

damaged car next to bike on ground

With more and more people using bicycles for transportation and exercise, there is an increased risk of bicycle accidents. As reported by Statista, in 2021, there were 42.78 million cyclists in the United States.

As a cyclist, being injured by a motor vehicle can have long-lasting impacts on your health and well-being. It is essential to understand what to do if you are involved in a bicycle crash and sustain personal injuries.

How common are bike accidents?

Bicyclists can sustain personal injuries from vehicles, other cyclists, and pedestrians. According to the CDC, over 130,000 bicyclists are injured, and over 1,000 people die from bike accidents annually.

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How long does it take to recover from a bike accident?

Recovery time from a bike accident is largely dependent upon the extent of the injuries experienced. These injuries range from mild to severe, including:

  • Scrapes
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • Broken Bones
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Head Injuries
  • Brain Injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Internal Injuries
  • Bodily Pain and Numbness
  • Road Rash
  • Urogenital Injuries
  • Foot and Leg Injuries
  • Hand and Arm Injuries
  • Loss of Limbs
  • Paralyzation
  • Death

For less severe injuries, the recovery time could be several weeks to a month. It could take several months to fully recover from sprains, strains, and broken bones. Should you sustain more severe injuries, you may never fully recover and could experience ongoing pain and discomfort.

Regardless of the extent of your injuries after being involved in a bicycle crash, you should always seek medical treatment. Initially, following the accident, you may feel fine or believe your injuries are not as severe. However, you could have internal bleeding or other life-threatening injuries that require immediate medical care.

I feel traumatized after a bike accident; what do I do?

You should seek treatment for acute stress disorder (ASD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Both of these conditions are associated with accident trauma that can cause you to relive the accident, experience flashbacks, and even have nightmares. You may even experience panic attacks when you are near bicycles or attempt to ride. There are effective treatments to help you overcome your trauma, anxiety, and fears.

How do you treat road rash from a bike accident?

Road with a turn

Road rash injuries are usually superficial but can still be quite painful and uncomfortable. You want to treat the injury as soon as possible to avoid infection. The wound needs to be cleaned using saline solution, so any dirt and road debris is fully removed.

Cleaning the wound may not be pleasant but must be done to avoid infection. After the wound is cleaned, you should apply antibiotic ointment. For minor wounds, you can use a sterile bandage that covers the entire area. For more extensive wounds, place sterile pads over the area and secure them in place with a wrap.

You should avoid getting the area dirty or wet. You will need to change the dressings and clean the wound daily until it heals. If you notice any signs of infection, such as pus or fluid discharge, seek medical treatment.

Can the phrase ‘hit and run’ apply to bicycle accidents?

Yes, the phrase ‘hit and run’ can apply to bicycle accidents. A hit-and-run accident occurs when a bicyclist is struck by another vehicle or bike, and the person who caused the accident flees the scene.

What is the difference between a bicycle and a car accident?

Bicycle accidents usually result in more severe injuries than car accidents. Bike crashes can occur for these causes:

  • Hitting trash cans.
  • Running into pedestrians.
  • Running into car doors.
  • Hitting car door mirrors.
  • Being hit by another bicyclist.
  • Being hit by a vehicle.
  • Being cut off or run off the road by a vehicle.
  • Crashing from running over debris in the road or uneven pavement.

Another key difference is the amount of protection bicyclists have compared to cars. Most modern vehicles have seat belts, passive restraints, airbags, and advanced safety features to reduce the risk of injuries when an accident occurs.

Cyclists, on the other hand, do not have much added protection other than a helmet. So it is easy to see why bicyclists can sustain more serious injuries when they crash.

What should people look for after a bicycle crash?

bicyclist injured in accident

The first thing you should do after a bicycle crash is determine how badly you are injured. For example, if you ran into a trash can and got knocked off your bike, your injuries may not be much more than a few scraps, bruises, and embarrassment.

However, if you are hit by a vehicle, you should call 911. It is best if you do not get up and move around as you may not yet be fully aware of all your injuries. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene and get any witnesses’ names and contact details.

After obtaining medical treatment for your injuries, you should also file a police report as soon as possible. You need to keep any evidence, like your damaged bike, clothing, and helmet.

Most importantly, never admit any level of fault for causing the accident. Contact a bicycle accident lawyer, like Adam S. Kutner, Injury Attorneys in Las Vegas, for a free consultation to determine if you have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party.

 

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Sources:

Number of Participants in Road/Paved Surface Bicycling in the United States from 2011 to 2021. (2022).

Bicycle Safety. (2022).

Hosko, M. (2022). What to Do After a Bike Accident: Taking Care of Injuries and Proper Healing.