The benefits of bicycling are tremendous. According to a story from Harvard Health, cycling is good for joints, creates an aerobic workout, builds muscles, helps with overall balance and increases bone density. But while health organizations encourage cycling for health, it’s not without its dangers, mostly from motorists. Governing.com reports that, despite initiatives and safety measures, Connecticut averages more than 6 cycling deaths per year, ranking Connecticut as the 19th most dangerous state for cycling.
Let Us Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycling accident in Connecticut, contact the The Law Firm of Ronald M. Scherban today. With offices in New Haven, The Law Firm of Ronald M. Scherban has more than four decades of personal injury experience in Connecticut and has the knowledge and resources to help with your claim. If you have questions or would like to set up a free evaluation, contact us online or call 203.865.6414.
How Common are Accidents?
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) shows the current trend has bicycle accidents increasing nationwide. In 2015, 818 cyclists lost their lives — 12.2 percent more than in 2014. However, non-fatal injuries were down, from 50,000 in 2014 to 45,000 in 2015.
Most Common Causes for Death and Injury
While being hit by a motorist still overwhelmingly leads the causes for bicycling accidents, it is not the only danger. PBIC also compiled a list of the most common causes of bicycling injuries, as of 2012. They include:
- Vehicle Accident: Essentially, being hit by a car or truck. While several states, including Connecticut, have introduced laws and infrastructure, including bike lanes, in order to increase cycling safety, nearly one-third of injuries (29 percent) are caused by motorists.
- Falling: This can happen to any cyclist, from a novice to a professional on a tour. Part of cycling is falling, and learning how to protect yourself when you do. Falling accounts for 17 percent of bicycling injuries.
- Riding Surface in Poor Condition: Even the best cyclists in the world can’t ride well when the road is less than stellar. A hidden pot hole or unseen pile of rubble can often be as dangerous as a car. This is the cause of 13 percent of bicycle accidents.
- Inattentiveness: As the rider is physically in control of the bicycle, hyperattention is necessary. When a cyclist’s attention is elsewhere, something as simple as a speed bump becomes dangerous. Inattentiveness was responsible for 13 percent of bicycle accidents.
- Crash: Colliding with objects other than cars caused 7 percent of injuries.
- Avoiding Canine: Being charged by a dog is enough to startle anyone, and the adrenalin rush is enough for anyone to lose control in their effort to get away, causing 4 percent of accidents.
Most Common Bicycle Injuries
While there are as many types of cycling injuries as there are bikes, because of the similarity of the activity some are more common than others. According to Cycling Weekly, some of the most common are:
- Impact Injuries – These are injuries incurred in a crash, from concussions to broken bones.
- Lower Back Pain – While this can affect any bicyclist, it’s more common with distance cyclers. The simple reason is the hours bent over the handle bars and the exertion itself.
- Knee Pain – Generally, if your bike is properly sized and adjusted, knee pain is rarely an issue, as bicycling is comparatively easy on the joints. However, if alignment is even slightly off, this can cause the ligaments and bones of the knee to be strained or injured.
- Saddle Sores – As with horseback riding, seats on bicycles can often cause sores and sensitivity.
Safe Cycling in Connecticut
Despite the potential dangers, some bicycling accidents are completely preventable. And even if the accident is unavoidable, it’s possible to at least lessen the damage. The American Automobile Association has collected safety advice for bicyclists, including:
- Always wear an approved helmet, with no exceptions.
- Keep your eyes up; be attentive to all potential dangers in front of you, from speeding cars to potholes.
- Ride with traffic, not against it.
- Avoid busy traffic areas if possible; for example, rush-hour is not the time to try a new route.
- If riding in the evening, make sure you are visible to motorists.
- Follow local laws; generally, traffic laws for bicyclists and motorists are the same.
- Maintain your bicycle.
If you have been injured in a cycling accident, contact The Law Firm of Ronald M. Scherban today. Practicing for more than 40 years out of offices in New Haven, Connecticut, The Law Firm of Ronald M. Scherban has more than four decades of experience filing personal injury claims. The firm has the knowledge, experience and resources to serve your legal needs. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free evaluation, contact us online or call us at 203.865.6414.