Bicycling is picking up in popularity across the country including right here in Mercer County. As people realize the health and environmental benefits of bicycling and in an attempt to avoid motor vehicle congestion and parking hassles, more people are picking up bicycling and more bicycles are populating Mercer County roads and trails. In response, Mercer County has worked to implement infrastructure and policies to accommodate bicyclists and to keep them safe on the road.
Unfortunately, as bicycle accident attorneys know, safety is never guaranteed and bicycle accidents do happen. Bicycle accident injuries can be devastating, especially when debilitating or fatal injuries are sustained. Injuries frequently render bicyclists unable to work, at least temporarily, and when lost wages are coupled with high medical costs for injuries, the results can often be financially crippling for families.
Bicycle accident facts and statistics
In 2017 there were 1,127 injuries and 21 fatalities in Pennsylvania bicycle accidents. While riding a bicycle at night is dangerous due to a higher risk of not being seen, more than half of the injuries and fatalities occurred while riding during daylight hours. The majority of bicyclists suffered injuries and fatalities at intersections often caused by motor vehicles failing to yield to the bicyclist’s right of way or failure to obey traffic signs and signals.
Bias against bicyclists
Some drivers are not happy with the increase in bicycles on the road. Often unfair biases against bicyclists get in the way and bicyclists face an uphill battle in accident recovery. Drivers frequently seek to blame bicycles for accidents because they do not recognize bicyclists’ right to be on the road or simply do not believe they should be on the road because they hold up traffic and get in people’s way.
Police officers are also sometimes biased against bicyclists, making inaccurate judgments and those inaccuracies sometimes end up in the police accident report. Insurance companies are also frequently unfair to bicyclists and assume that they were at least partially responsible for the accident. This results in a settlement offer that does not fully compensate bicyclists for their injuries and damages.
Liable parties in bicycle accident injuries may include:
- Negligent drivers who do not see bicyclists on the road or otherwise fail to operate safely around them.
- Aggressive drivers who have a grudge against bicyclists and do not respect their rights on the road.
- Entities are responsible for maintaining safe bicycle paths and roadways.
- Motor vehicle occupants who open doors into the path of oncoming bicycles.
- Parties responsible for defective bicycle parts that cause or contribute to an accident.