The University of Southern California reported recently on an alarming study released by the University of California San Francisco. The study showed that over the past 17 years, bicycle accidents have cost America more than $237 BILLION, and that the cost of those accidents is only going up. Some of the study’s most alarming findings include:
- The frequency of bicycle accidents has increased by 120% over the course of the study
- The costs of treating injuries from bicycle accidents has increased by 136%
- Older bicycle riders are increasingly more likely to be injured while cycling than younger riders
- Accidents involving both bicycles and automobiles are increasing, which often causes injuries to be more severe
Bicycle accidents can not only lead to injuries and ongoing health issues, but can contribute to a reduction in productivity at work as well as an inability to enjoy life’s activities. Armed with this information, it’s clear that certain safety precautions need to be taken to ensure communities are able enjoy their bicycles safely.
What factors contribute to the increasing cost of bicycle accidents?
Part of the reason more bicycle accidents now involve automobiles has to do with the changing nature of where people ride. With more and more urban residents opting to use a bike to commute to work, more and more cyclists are sharing the roads with motorists. That places responsibility on a variety of parties to ensure everybody’s safety.
Obviously riders and drivers alike need to know the rules of the road and obey them. But there are other groups that have responsibilities as well. For example, cities and municipalities need to make plans to accommodate their cycling citizens. As the USC article points out, many European cities have more bike riders and fewer accidents than American cities. There is a range of possible solutions to help increase rider safety, such as having well-marked bicycle lanes available for riders to use. Especially in cities with heavily-trafficked bike routes, failing to provide safe bicycle lanes could potentially lead to liability for the city.
What should I do if I’ve been in a bicycle accident?
If you’ve been in an accident, the first thing you need to do is get proper medical attention; everything else can wait. But after that, it’s important to act quickly. California’s laws only allow you to bring cases to court for a limited period of time; if you wait too long, the court won’t even hear your case.
Every accident is unique, and determining who is responsible requires a thorough investigation followed by skilled representation from an expert attorney. Our firm specializes in these types of accidents. We have experienced investigators on staff who know what to look for when investigating the scene of an accident, and our attorneys have handled hundreds of cases involving accidents and injuries. If you’ve been injured while cycling and have questions about your rights, please contact J&Y Law today for a free consultation.