The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 783 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2017. The agency’s most recent data shows those deaths accounted for 2.1% of all traffic deaths, and 75% of those fatal crashes occurred in urban areas.
The agency reports that over the past 10 years, the average age of bicyclists killed in Louisiana and elsewhere has increased from 41 to 47 years old while men are eight times more likely to be the victims of fatal crashes than women.
Most common types of crashes
Many situations can happen, such as car doors being opened in a bike’s path or a cyclist being rear-ended. However, two types of bike-car accidents are more common than others:
- Left-hand turn: A vehicle turns left directly into the path of a cyclist traveling in the opposite direction. In these cases, motorists rarely see the cyclist until it’s too late.
- Right hook: A vehicle traveling the same direction makes a right turn directly into the bike’s path while the cyclist is riding in a bike lane or on the road’s shoulder.
Action to take at the scene
Bicyclists often suffer serious injuries after being hit by a vehicle, but if the injuries do not require immediate medical treatment, there are steps they should take to protect themselves:
- Do not admit fault
- Do not minimize injuries
- Do not minimize damage to the bike
- Obtain the driver’s name, phone number, insurance information and plate number
Seek compensation for injuries and damage
Injuries to bicyclists in bike-car accidents are often the result of negligence by the driver of the larger vehicle. While hundreds are killed each year, thousands more are injured, many seriously, incurring massive medical debt and lost wages from being forced to miss work. Seeking the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney here in Louisiana can be vital to recovering the compensation they deserve.