With bicycle riding in Massachusetts at an all-time high, it’s more dangerous than ever. In 2012, the state saw a staggering 13% jump in accident rates in just 3 years. Worse, nearly 70 percent of the crashes resulted in injuries. While most of these accidents were in heavily trafficked cities like Boston and Worcester, there is a growing concern for the nearby suburbs as well.
Bicycle accidents are particularly dangerous because the cyclist is often traveling at a high rate of speed, but has little or no protection from harm in an accident. Even a car door opening at the wrong time or a vehicle making a turn could cause traumatic injury and broken bones. According to research from the City of Boston, the majority of bike accidents with injuries involved a collision with a motor vehicle of some type.
According to the City of Cambridge, better awareness on the part of both cyclists and drivers could be the key to trimming the area’s climbing accident rates. The city calls for drivers to look for cyclists while in motion, while making turns and even while opening car doors to reduce the amount of accidents on the busy shared streets. Cyclists who are aware of the danger and who follow the rules of the road are less likely to be involved in an accident.
Bike Accident Cases
According to the Boston Globe, 13 cyclists have been killed in city traffic in the past 5 years; the victims ranged from just 8 to 74 years of age.
- In 2013, a visiting scientist from Japan was struck and killed in a bike crash in Boston; the dump truck that struck her fled the scene.
- In 2015, a 38 year old medical researcher was killed in an intersection while biking in Back Bay.
- In 2016, a 30 year old man was struck by a truck while cycling in Worcester; he survived with injuries and was transported to the hospital for treatment for broken bones, chest and facial injuries
In a Bicycle Accident? Here’s What to Do Next
Seek out medical help: Even though you wear a helmet, a bicycle exposes you to a higher risk of injury. You don’t have the same amount of protection offered by a car, but can achieve car-like speeds and enter areas with heavy traffic. See a doctor after any crash, even if there are no visible injuries; Injuries to your neck, head or back may not be immediately apparent but your doctor can help determine the extent of the damage and document your injuries as well.
Document the incident: If possible, take photos of everything, including your bike and any damage done to it, the location and conditions where the accident occurred and the car or vehicle that struck you. This documentation can help you if you need to file a lawsuit or deal with the insurance company later and can clearly show what the day was like and the conditions of your accident.
File a police report: Make a police report to comply with the law and document your claim; the officer will collect the contact information from all parties and witnesses. You will need this information later.
Gather witnesses: Who saw your accident or even the aftermath? Take down the names of those involved in the crash, those who witnessed it and those who arrived to help; you may need this information if you file a lawsuit later.
Don’t apologize or accept blame: Even if someone accuses you of being in the way or contributing to the accident, never apologize or accept responsibility without having a full and complete picture of all relevant facts which you will typically not have without an attorney’s thorough investigation; a bicycle accident is a complex case and accepting blame could undermine your eventual lawsuit.
Check out your bike and gear: Don’t ride the bike again without getting it checked out; the impact could have caused significant damage and even contribute to another accident. If you fell from the bike, replace your helmet as well (but keep it to show the damages if needed).
A bicycle accident can have catastrophic injuries with far reaching consequences. If you have been injured and need help, contact us. Our bicycle accident attorneys can help you gain insight into your case and ensure you are being treated fairly by the other party and the insurance company.