There’s a growing interest in bike riding that began to spike during the global pandemic. But with a growing number of bicycle riders comes the threat of dangerous bicycle accidents.
The inexpensive and healthy alternative of bicycling offers flexibility and independence. While some communities offer bicyclists their own paths off traditional roads, many bicycles must travel along the same roadways as vehicles. This is where the danger comes and why you may need a New Orleans bicycle accident lawyer.
Thousands of bicyclists are injured each year in the U.S. by accidents, and more than 840 bicyclists in the country have died in a recent year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Despite the growing demand across the country for safer bike paths, many communities have not invested in them or have not linked bike lanes together to help separate bikes and motor vehicles from the road.
Threats to Bicyclists
While most community ordinances and state laws recognize that bicyclists have as much right to the road as drivers of motor vehicles, there is still more to be done to offer bicyclists more protection from careless drivers. Obviously, bicycles are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to collisions with motor vehicles. The bike is smaller, the rider is less protected and many drivers fail to pay attention to bicyclists. Some motorists even harass bicyclists out of frustration when they are left to sit in heavy traffic.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the threat to bicyclists.
- Roads: Typically, roads are built for motor vehicles. They are designed to accommodate certain speeds and a specific number of vehicles, which can make them dangerous and crowded. That leaves pedestrians and bicyclists, even some motorcycle riders, vulnerable to careless drivers of cars, trucks and SUVs. There aren’t enough uniquely designated bike lanes to take bicyclists off the road.
- Bad drivers: There are plenty of careless, distracted, obnoxious, and even impaired drivers on the roads to pose a threat to bicyclists. This problem is uniquely troubling for bicyclists, who have little protection against vehicles when bad drivers are behind the wheel.
- Population growth: In many areas of the country, growth is booming. That means more people, which means more traffic and congestion, and that means more accidents. The bicyclist is particularly impacted by this factor because of the limited opportunities to avoid using the same roadway as a motor vehicle driver and because of the greater consequences suffered in an accident.
- Limited laws: In many parts of the country, there are no laws passed to protect bicyclists, including requirements to wear helmets and other protective gear, speed restrictions on roadways that allow bikes, and required distances that motor vehicles must observe from a bike on the roadway.
How to exercise your rights as a bicyclist
Because so many fatal bike accidents occur in urban areas, it is important to exercise your right to ride by contacting a New Orleans bicycle accident lawyer. In many cases, motorists are at fault when collisions with bicycles occur. Without an experienced lawyer by your side, it’s likely that a motor vehicle driver’s insurance company will not properly respond to your claim. A number of factors must be reviewed to ensure you are protected, including how your injuries will affect you for many years to come. You need an experienced advocate who will protect your interests when dealing with an insurance company.