The danger of injury or death for bicyclists on the roadways is a serious concern. According to the Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC), although bicycles account for only 1 percent of roadway traffic, bicyclists are at greater danger of crash-related injuries and death than motor vehicle occupants. In 2010, 800 bicyclists were killed in bicycle accidents and there were approximately 515,000 trips to the emergency room because of bicycle accidents and bicycle-related injuries.
Because of the vulnerable nature of bicyclists, who are unprotected on the roadways, significant injuries and harm can occur. According to research data from 2005, fatal bicycle accidents and non-fatal bicycle accident injuries accounted for a total of $5 billion in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses. Injured victims may confront medical costs, lost wages, lost-earning capacity and pain and suffering damages following a bicycle accident. In addition, families of victims killed in fatal motorcycle accidents may be left with medical bills, funeral expenses and the loss of support and services, as well as pain and suffering and other types of damages.
It is always important that drivers exercise due care for the safety of other sharing the roadways, including bicyclists. When this is not the case, a negligent driver may be liable to a victim or victim’s family for damages. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the roadways as motor vehicles.
When the rights of motorcyclists are not honored, and harm results, a negligent driver may be to blame and be liable for damages. Drivers who fail to exercise ordinary care to ensure the safety of others on the roadways, including bicyclists, and cause harm as a result may be held responsible for the victim’s damages through legal options designed to protect victims.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Bicycle-Related injuries,” accessed on Dec. 2, 2014