California and bicycles seem made for each other. The great weather and great scenery make a leisurely bike ride a pleasant activity for a day off work. For many people in Orange County, Huntington Beach and across all of Orange County, the bicycle is the vehicle of choice for the daily commute, a quick trip to the store, or as an alternative to a crowded bus ride to school.
Unfortunately, for cyclists, far more people choose to drive to get where they are going. Any place bikes and motor vehicles share the road there will be occasional interactions. When they happen, things seldom go in the cyclist’s favor.
Getting a handle on bike accident numbers
According to the NHTSA, an estimated 45,000 cyclists suffered injuries in crashes in 2015. Incredibly, research suggests that as few as 10 percent of bike crashes are reported to police, meaning the real number of injuries could be much higher. Approximately one-third of all bike accidents involve a collision with a motor vehicle.
Cyclist fatalities are also a major area of concern, especially in California. In 2015, 818 cyclists died in collisions, including 128, or more than 15 percent, in California alone. Bicycle deaths account for just less than 2 percent of all traffic fatalities; however, only 1 percent of vehicle trips in the United States are made on a bike. Clearly, cyclists are an over-represented demographic in this least desirable category.
Picking up the pieces after a serious bicycle crash
A wise rider straps on a helmet before hitting the streets, but sometimes that is not enough to prevent a serious injury. Injuries commonly suffered in bike-versus-car accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Abrasions/road rash
- Internal injuries
Any one of these kinds of injuries can cause long-term health issues and may require extended hospital care and rehabilitative therapy. There is also the potential to miss work while you are recovering. A very serious injury could prevent a return to work entirely.
Not all motorists show due caution around bicycles, and some drivers do not respect a cyclist’s right to use the road. Some may try to shift the blame from themselves to the innocent rider to try to avoid taking legal and/or financial responsibility for what happened.
If you choose to ride your bike on the roads of Orange County, you have a right to expect other drivers to respect your presence and allow you to travel safely. Anyone injured by a careless or negligent driver may wish to seek legal counsel and representation. A lawyer who truly believes in your right to ride will fight for the compensation you need and deserve for your pain and suffering.