What are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
There are several different types of accidents that happen frequently between bicycles and motor vehicles:
- Rear-End Accidents: Rear-end collisions that involve two vehicles are often referred to as “fender benders”, and many of these types of accidents result in minor damage and injuries. When a vehicle rear-ends a bicycle, however, it is a different story. Even at a low speed, when a car bumps into a bicycle, it can cause a serious injury to the rider. This often happens because a car is following a bike too closely (e.g., tailgating).
- Sideswipe Accidents: A sideswipe collision generally happens when a motor vehicle crowds the road and does not give the bicycle enough space when it is passing it. A vehicle driver is supposed to give a bicycle sufficient space, and they should never be closer than 3 feet away while passing.
- Crossing and Turning Accidents: Many accidents happen when a vehicle crosses into the path of a bicycle or turns (usually left) and collides into a bicycle that is in their blind spot. The cause of these accidents is usually that the driver did not see the bicycle either in their blind spot or at a crossing.
- Dooring Accidents: As the name implies, this type of accident happens when a vehicle occupant opens their door in front of an oncoming bicycle and strikes it. Dooring accidents are most common in more congested areas, such as busy downtown streets in cities like Richmond and Virginia Beach.
Most bicycle accidents are caused by some form of negligence, and in the majority of cases, it is negligence on the part of a vehicle driver. Some of the most common causes of bike accidents include:
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of all types of motor vehicle accidents, including bicycle accidents. Often times, a driver is too busy looking at their cell phone to notice a bicyclist entering their blind spot or slowing down in front of them, for example. Bicyclists may also be distracted at times, such as when they have their headphones turned up too loud to hear a vehicle nearby.
- Alcohol: It has been well documented for several decades that driving or riding while intoxicated can be very hazardous. Chemical impairment slows reaction times and alters a person’s state of mind. This results in poorer decisions on the road, many of which contribute to traffic-related accidents.
- Speeding: Exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for current conditions is one of the leading causes of collisions between vehicles and bicycles, and other types of motor vehicle accidents. Speed kills, and going too fast means a driver has less time to react safely to adverse situations that may arise on the roads.
- Reckless Driving: Excessive speeding is one form of reckless driving that heightens the risk of bike accidents. Others include tailgating, weaving wildly between lanes, dangerous passing maneuvers, ignoring stop signs and stoplights, and refusing to yield the right-of-way.
Damages Recoverable from Virginia Bike Accident Claims
As mentioned earlier, bicycle accidents can result in some of the most serious and catastrophic injuries. And when this occurs, those injured are entitled to damages not only for direct economic losses such as medical bills and lost earnings, but also for noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life. If you lost a loved one through this type of accident, you might also be eligible for compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Bicycle accident injury claims can be especially difficult to pursue in a state like Virginia, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to have “contributed” in any way to the underlying accident, they can be barred from recovering damages. You can be sure that the other side will try to use this defendant-friendly standard against you, and this is why it is highly recommended that you get an attorney involved with your case sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you may lose out on your right to recover compensation for your injuries.
Speak with Our Knowledgeable and Compassionate Virginia Bicycle Accident Lawyers
At Schilling & Esposito, we understand that being seriously injured in a traffic-related accident can put a major physical, emotional, and financial strain on victims and their families, and we are here to help ensure that the legal process goes as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. We handle the entire process from start to finish, and we take care of all the complex tasks, so you can focus on your recovery. Along the way, we provide frequent updates on the progress of your case, and we are always available whenever you have questions or concerns.
If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident in Virginia, call our office today at 804-261-1001 or message us online to schedule your free consultation. You may also stop by one of our Richmond offices in person at your convenience, or we will come to you.
We accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we recover compensation on your behalf