According to studies, riding a bicycle on a road is generally as safe as driving or riding in a vehicle; however, cyclists should be aware of certain dangers and injury risks. While bicycle-related fatalities have decreased in general since 1975, fatal bicycle accidents have increased since 2010. Bicycle fatality rates have tripled for adults over the age of 20, while they have decreased for children.
Bicycle accidents are common in Pennsylvania, and victims can sustain life-altering injuries due to the size and weight of motor vehicles and the absence of protection afforded to those riding bicycles on public roads. After a bicycle accident, it can be difficult to determine how you will be compensated for your injuries and other losses. If you have questions or need the assistance of an experienced PA bicycle accident attorney, feel free to contact us today.
In the article below, we will talk about bicycle safety tips and frequently asked questions about bicycle accidents in Pennsylvania.
Bicycle Riding Safety Tips
If you intend to commute to work on a bicycle or ride along busy roads, it is essential that you acquire the knowledge necessary to do so safely.
- Always wear a helmet - 60% of the injuries sustained in a bicycle accident are traumatic brain injuries. A helmet provides safety in the event of a collision.
- Wear bright colors - Bright colors are more visible to motorists.
- Follow the traffic - Never ride against traffic; instead, cycle with it on the right side of the road with no more than two cyclists abreast.
- Master the use of hand signals - Hand signals can assist commuters in understanding a cyclist's intentions, particularly at dangerous intersections and when making left-hand turns.
- Avoid using headphones or earbuds - It is crucial to maintain alertness while riding. Music or any other distraction can cause you to lose your concentration while on the road. Or you may fail to hear a car approaching from behind.
- Do not carry a passenger - Do not permit others to hitch a ride or ride on the bicycle (unless it is designed for multiple riders).
- Don't ride while intoxicated - Similar to driving a vehicle, operating a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or narcotics can severely impair judgment, reflexes, and the ability to operate a bicycle safely.
Pennsylvania Bicycle Accident FAQ
Numerous veteran and novice cyclists in Pennsylvania have concerns regarding bicycle safety and accident laws.
In Pennsylvania, is it required to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle?
If you are under the age of 12 and riding a bicycle, whether as a rider or a passenger, you must wear a helmet. Although cyclists over the age of 12 are not required to wear a helmet, it is highly recommended that they do. Research indicates that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a head injury by 85%.
What are the laws for riding a bicycle at night in PA?
Riding a bicycle at night can be very dangerous. If you ride your bicycle between sunset and sunrise, it must have a front lamp and rear and side reflectors visible from at least 500 feet away. This is both to help other motorists see you and to illuminate your path.
Can you ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in Pennsylvania?
On sidewalks and bicycle paths, pedestrians have the right-of-way. You are required to emit an audible signal when approaching and passing a pedestrian. You may not ride a bicycle on a sidewalk in a business district unless authorized by official traffic control devices or where a bicycle-only lane is available.
What are the most common types of bicycle accidents that happen?
When a bicyclist is involved in an accident, a motorist's negligence is typically to blame. Keep in mind that the majority of urban bicycle accidents occur at intersections. The most prevalent types of bike accidents that result in serious injury or death are left-hand turns and dooring incidents, in which a cyclist collides with a driver's or passenger's door as it is opening. Unfortunately, hit-and-run incidents involving cyclists are also common.
Who is held liable after a bicycle accident in Pennsylvania?
Any accident's liability depends primarily on the circumstances; however, the motorist is frequently partially liable due to negligence. The state of Pennsylvania follows what is known as a "comparative negligence" rule. Under this law, you may recover damages or compensation for your claim as long as your own liability is not greater than that of the person who caused your accident (no more than 50 percent).
This should not, however, prevent you from pursuing a settlement or lawsuit for a bicycle accident. Consult with an experienced Pennsylvania bicycle accident attorney who can answer your questions and explain your legal options.
What should you do immediately if you have been involved in a bicycle accident?
After a bicycle accident, it is essential to remain calm and take the necessary safety precautions to ensure your safety. The initial step should be to obtain medical care. This should be your foremost concern. It could take a while for the symptoms of your injuries to manifest, or the shock and trauma could be masking the pain. Seeking medical care does more than just initiate the healing process; it also creates a record of your injuries, which may be useful for a future claim.
Following a bicycle accident, you must take the following steps:
- Gather evidence - Collect all evidence at the scene whenever possible. Take pictures of the scene, the vehicle, the weather, the road, and any potentially significant signs or lighting. This includes gathering the contact details of the opposing motorist, any passengers, and any witnesses.
- File a report with the police - Under Pa. C.S.A. § 3744, drivers are required to report traffic accidents involving injuries or fatalities. Additionally, submitting a police report can assist in strengthening your case.
- Contact an attorney for bicycle accidents in Pennsylvania - A bicycle accident attorney can provide guidance on how to file a claim, how much compensation you are entitled to, and how to pursue damages.
- Maintain copies of your bills and records - Keep track of your medical expenses and health history. Include in your claim the cost of treatments, therapies, medical equipment, medications, and any other treatment-related costs. Keep all receipts and bills in a readily accessible location.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident in Pennsylvania, act immediately. Contact us for a free consultation, and we will answer any questions that you may have and help you understand your available legal options.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we value compassion and empathy and are ready to help you. With our proven track record of success, we can get you the justice you deserve. We are committed to assisting our clients in regaining their health while we fight for their rights and pursue just compensation.