Venango County is an active bicycle community and Franklin, its county seat, has recognized the importance of maintaining a bicycle friendly community as well as capitalizing on recreational bicycle amenities to increase tourism and boost the local economy. Bicycle amenities to boost the economy is great for the community, but bike accident attorneys believe that boosting bicycle safety in our community would be a good idea too.
Around 1% of all motor vehicle accidents involve a bicycle and while that may sound like a small percentage, when bicycle accidents do happen, the vast majority of bicycle accidents result in severe injuries to the bicyclist. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 21 bicycle accident fatalities and 1,127 injuries in Pennsylvania over a one year period.
Injuries and damages
Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect your head in a bicycle accident, but helmets unfortunately do not prevent all bicycle injuries and fatalities. When a bicycle is up against a motor vehicle capable of moving at high rates of speed and weighing thousands of pounds, there is little a bicyclist can do to prevent serious injuries. Common bicycle accident injuries include cuts, bruises, lacerations, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, lost limbs, road rash, broken bones, internal organ damage, and other debilitating injuries.
Bicycle accident scenarios
Bicycle accidents frequently involve motor vehicles turning into bicyclists’ paths, passing bicyclists too closely or when it is otherwise unsafe, or pulling out into bicyclists’ paths from alleys, cross streets, and driveways. Other types of accidents involve dangerous road or trail conditions, bicycle or helmet defects, or ‘dooring’ accidents when a parked car occupant opens his or her door into the path of a bicycle. After a collision, drivers often report not seeing bicyclists prior to striking them, but that is not a valid defense to liability.
Children and bicycle accidents
Pennsylvania DOT statistics show that children ages 5 – 14 are the most vulnerable age group when it comes to bicycle accident injuries and fatalities. Across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (‘CDC’) reports that children age 5-19 account for more than 1/3 of all emergency room bicycle-related injuries.
Bicycle accident injury prevention
The CDC recommends taking the following precautions for bicycle injury prevention:
- Always wear a helmet. In Pennsylvania, only children under 12 years old are required to wear a helmet, but due to the risk of serious injuries in an accident, it is recommended that all bicyclists wear helmets.
- Wearing fluorescent clothing in the daytime makes bicyclists more visible.
- When riding a bicycle at night, wear retro-reflective clothing to increase visibility.
- Active lighting on both bicycles and bicyclists is recommended as an added safety measure.