Bicycles are a common mode of transportation in Philadelphia and all over the state. For people in urban areas who do not want to get stuck in traffic but are looking for a faster means of traveling than walking, bicycling is an appealing option. Unfortunately, as with all modes of transportation, accidents can and do happen. Many bicycle accidents result in serious, if not permanent, injuries and consequences.
If you’ve been in a wreck, our Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyer is here for you. Understanding your rights and attempting to seek compensation while recovering from serious injuries can be difficult. We’ll work to handle the complex paperwork and difficult conversations for you. We’ll hold the negligent party that caused your accident accountable for their actions. With the help of our lawyers, you’ll be able to present a strong case that proves the other party wronged you.
Common Types of Bicycle Crashes
The majority of bicycle accidents happen when a person loses control of their bike and ends up on the sidewalk or pavement. When an accident involves a motor vehicle, however, the consequences are likely to be much more serious. The following are the most common types of bicycle crashes:
- Dooring Accidents. Dooring incidents are incredibly common in the city because of the amount of traffic and the number of cars that park on the side of the street. If a driver or passenger opens their door without looking behind them, an unsuspecting bicyclist could run into the car door. In many cases, the bicyclist ends up going over the door and winds up on the pavement.
- Crashes at Stop Signs and Traffic Lights. Bicyclists, like motorists, are required to obey traffic signs. They have the same right-of-way rights, as well. Negligent drivers do not always abide by stop signs and traffic lights. If a driver runs through a light or ignores a stop sign, they risk striking a bicycle and seriously injuring the bike rider.
- Vehicle Overtaking Bicyclist. When a bicyclist is legally using a roadway and is hit from behind, this is considered an overtaking accident. Fatalities are not uncommon. Many of these accidents occur at night and happen because the driver was unable to see the cyclist or did not see them until it was too late. Drunk or impaired drivers are often involved in these situations.
- Bicyclist Turning. Left and right turns pose equal dangers for bicyclists. When a vehicle is turning left, they’re less likely to see a person on a bicycle. When a driver turns right, it’s possible a bicycle could be in their blind spot.
- Exiting from a Private Driveway. These crashes are most likely to occur in residential areas in the early morning and at night, when a bicyclist is entering the roadway from a private driveway, alley, side street, or sidewalk.
Whether you find yourself in one of the situations above or were in a different type of accident, our Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyers will investigate your case and determine what happened.
How Are Bicycle Wrecks Investigated?
When driver in a motor vehicle injures a cyclist, a thorough investigation needs to take place to determine what happened, why it happened, and whether the incident could have been prevented. If the accident happens in the city, it’s possible that a trained bike patrol officer could provide an informed perspective on the factors related to the event.
The first thing to look at is the position of the vehicles prior to the wreck. Depending on where the car was when it hit the bicycle can be a big indicator as to whether they were breaking any laws. Determining how fast they were traveling is also important.
Both the bicycle and motor vehicle need to be examined for damages. The bicycle will undoubtedly be more damaged than the car, so noting where the damage is on the vehicle can help show how the accident happened. Investigators will also make note of the road surface and the weather conditions, as both can contribute to crashes, especially if there are potholes in the road or it was raining when the collision occurred.
After the scene is properly documented, the bicyclist’s injuries can be taken into consideration. Depending on where the injuries are can also be telling as to why and how the incident happened.
It’s likely the police and insurance company will conduct separate investigations. Your lawyer can start one of their own and ensure nothing is missed and all crucial evidence is made known.
What Causes Bike Accidents in Philly?
In general, the main cause of bicycle accidents is negligence. Whether it’s a negligent driver or the cyclist being negligent, both can lead to collisions that cause bike injuries. Usually, the driver is the one who caused the accident because of their actions behind the wheel. Many drivers don’t look for bicyclists because they’re much smaller and harder to see on the road compared to other motorists. Of course, bicyclists can be at fault in some situations where they don’t follow Pennsylvania bicycle laws.
Here are some of the most common causes of bike accidents in Philly, where both the driver or the cyclist could be responsible:
- Distracted driving and cycling
- Aggressive driving
- Drivers not leaving enough space between their car and a bicycle riders
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Turning without looking for cyclists
- Driving under the influence
- Biking under the influence
- Drivers failing to check their blind spots
- Drivers failing to check their mirrors
- Drivers not yielding
- Road defects that cause drivers or cyclists to lose control
- Defective auto part
- Defective bike part
When you hire a bicycle accident lawyer to represent you, they’ll look into the cause of your collision so that they can get a firm idea of who is responsible for what happened to you. Depending on what happened and what caused the accident, the person at fault could be the driver, bicyclist, or part manufacturer for either vehicle.
With a Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyer from Shrager & Sachs, you can feel confident that you have the strongest case possible because they’ll determine exactly who was responsible for your bike wreck and subsequent injuries. Let’s take a look at what kinds of injuries you could suffer from a crash.
Injuries Bicyclists Suffer from Collisions
Accidents between motorists and bicyclists cause more severe damage to the person on the bicycle because more of their body is exposed and they take the brunt of the force from the car striking them, and then another force when they hit the ground. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), four bicyclists were killed in accidents in Philadelphia in 2018.
There are many bike lanes in Philadelphia intended to keep cyclists safe. In fact, an average of 171 bicyclists utilize the bike lanes across the city each hour, according to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Unfortunately, even though there are miles of bike lanes in Philly, bicycle accidents still happen when cyclists and motorists aren’t cautious or watching for each other to share the road.
Bicyclists are more at risk for catastrophic injuries after an accident because cars are so much larger and heavier than their bodies. They don’t have the same protection on a bike that motorists have in their cars. Even if they wear a helmet and pay attention at all times, they can still suffer serious bicycle injuries from a collision because they are more exposed.
Here are some of the most common injuries and cyclists suffer from when they are struck by a vehicle on the street:
- Sprains and strains
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Whether your injuries were minor or severe after a bicycle accident, you’ll want to seek medical attention right away. A doctor will be able to examine you and determine the extent of your injuries and start your treatment immediately. Your medical records will include the notes and diagnosis that your doctor made and help you later if you decide to file a claim against the driver who hit you.
If you were biking and were struck by a car, you’ll want to get justice for your injuries and any other damages you suffered. Our Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyer will fight for your rights. We’ll collect all the evidence we need to prove that the driver was at fault and calculate how much you’re owed in financial recovery. From there, we can fight to get you the full and fair compensation that you deserve for all you’ve gone through.
Pennsylvania Bicycle Safety Laws
Even though you were likely following the rules while you were hit on your bike, it’s important to know the state laws surrounding bicycle use. Knowing the laws could help your case by proving that you’re not liable for what happened to you. Having one of our experienced bicycle accident attorneys on your side will help because we are well-versed in the laws surrounding bicycle use and how cars are to treat cyclists and will be able to point to the exact act of negligence that led to your accident.
Let’s take a look at Pennsylvania’s bicycle laws as outlined by PennDOT so that we know exactly what you did right, and a driver did wrong to cause your collision and subsequent injuries:
- Bicyclists have all of the rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles and must follow traffic laws.
- Bikes can be ridden on the shoulder of the road but are not required to. They must ride in the same direction as traffic.
- No matter how many lanes there are on the road, cyclists must ride in the lane that is farthest to the right.
- The only time cyclists can move from the right lane is if they are overtaking another vehicle, preparing for a left turn, or getting around a road obstruction.
- Must ride single file unless there is a bike lane.
- Bicyclists may treat a malfunctioning stoplight as a stop sign.
- If cycling in the dark, your bike must have a front lamp as well as rear and side reflectors.
- Bicyclists under 12 years of age must wear a helmet. Those older than that age are not required to wear a helmet but are suggested to.
- Motorists must allow four feet of distance between them and the cyclist when they are passing them on the side of the road.
- Drivers can overtake a bicyclist in a no passing zone, but they must travel at a safe speed and provide the four feet.
- Motorists cannot open a door intentionally when a cyclist is coming toward them.
All of these rules should be carefully followed by both bicyclists and motorists so that they can both avoid crashes. However, if either party act negligently, it could cause a deadly scenario. When you’ve followed the laws while biking and still ended up in an accident, you could use the help of a Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyer to support you.
At Shrager & Sachs, we’re here to help you get the justice you deserve for your injuries and damages. We’ll prove the motorist’s negligence caused your suffering and fight to get you compensation.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations
When you’ve been in a collision with a vehicle while you were using your bike, and you’re interested in filing a claim against the negligent driver, one of the parameters you’ll need to consider is the statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years from the date of injury.
This means that if you try to file a bicycle accident claim over two years after you were injured, you will be denied because you exceeded the timeline. If you miss that two-year window, you won’t be able to recover any compensation for your losses. That’s why it’s important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after your bike accident in our city so that you and your lawyer can discuss your legal options promptly.
When you have a Philly bicycle accident lawyer from Shrager & Sachs on your side, we’ll guide you through the legal process so that you know exactly what’s happening with your claim. We will make sure that you’re within the statute of limitations so that you get the full financial recovery that you deserve.
Seeking Compensation for Your Losses
As with any accident, the victim will have to deal with medical bills, lost wages, property damage costs, pain and suffering, and more. With a bicycle accident in Philadelphia, however, the victim’s injuries may be catastrophic. This implies the person will no longer be able to be gainfully employed. When injuries completely upend a person’s way of life, the financial losses are only the beginning. Our lawyers are here for you.
If it’s determined the driver is responsible for your accident, auto insurance typically covers the bills in Pennsylvania. Insurance companies, however, often try to offer accident victims the lowest possible settlement in order to maintain or improve their bottom line. Our lawyers will work for you to ensure you receive a full and fair settlement that helps you recover as completely as possible.
Bicycle riders aren’t always given the respect they deserve on the road, by insurance companies, or in the courtroom. In many situations, the driver will claim that you were the one at fault for the accident; however, our lawyers recognize that accidents aren’t cut and dried. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and share the road with all modes of transportation.
Our lawyers have years of experience representing bicycle injury victims. If you’re looking for a way to hold the driver accountable, recover from your accident, and gain peace of mind, contact our Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyer today. We’ll evaluate your claim for free and help you determine how best to proceed.