Riding your bicycle is a great experience. You’re outside taking in the sunlight, going at your own pace, and riding with friends and family. It’s a fun activity for everyone to do! Locals in Las Vegas ride their bicycles to and from work, around the city, and on the local trails. Many tourists also enjoy the beautiful city of Las Vegas by renting a bike to ride to and from local restaurants and casinos. It’s a healthy activity that gets people moving! However, everything can quickly take a turn for the worse when you’re involved in an accident with a car. If you’re in a bicycle accident, you are very likely to have potentially life-threatening injuries. Many things can go wrong with a bicycle accident.
You may experience a hit-and-run or the driver may not have insurance. Other cars or bicyclists may also be involved. Nevada follows comparative negligence rules when a bicyclist is involved with a motor vehicle accident. This means that the plaintiff can collect compensation from the at-fault parties if they are found less than 51% responsible for the accident. Insurance companies will try to pay you the least amount of money they can. To ensure you get the most compensation, contact Dimopoulos Injury Law. Our bicycle accident attorneys in Las Vegas are experienced and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are a handful of notable findings in their statistics. You can read a detailed report here, but below is a summary of their findings. For reference, these bike accidents exclude crashes that have occurred on private property and only include public roads and highways where at least one vehicle was involved.
- The NHTSA reported that there were 857 deaths in 2018. This makes up nearly 2.3 percent of all traffic deaths throughout the year.
- 79 percent of these deaths were in urban areas.
- Nighttime, between 9-11pm, contained the highest percentage of cyclist fatalities in almost every season. Fall months (Sept-November), between 6pm-9pm contained the highest rates of fatalities, at 27%.
With these statistics in mind, this is a friendly and urgent reminder for all bicyclists to wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet every single time they go for a ride. It is the most effective way of preventing severe head injuries from a crash. If you ride during the darker hours (very early morning or evening/night), it is recommended that you make yourself as visible as possible. Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing and use a front light, flashing rear light, or red reflector on your bike at nighttime. Bicyclists are considered a vehicle on the road and therefore must follow all driving laws, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings. It’s important to always assume vehicles don’t see you or will want to go ahead of you when you’re on the street. You should keep a 3-foot clearance from vehicles at all times and watch out from car doors opening or pulling out in parking spaces.
Nevada is on the low end of cyclist fatalities in terms of percentages, but that does not mean it doesn’t happen – or won’t happen. Be wary of your surroundings especially at night or in high traffic areas.
Causes of Bicycle Crashes
Bicycle accidents are tricky sometimes. It’s vital to know the cause of the accident because a car hitting you doesn’t necessarily mean the driver is at fault. There are outstanding circumstances that can cause the accident. Sometimes the vehicle or the bike has manufacturing flaws, therefore placing liability on the company that made the machinery. No matter the circumstances, you need to prove that you are not at least 51% responsible for the accident.
These are common causes of bicycle accidents involving a motor vehicle:
- Lane Changes – Drivers don’t always check their blind spots when they are changing lanes. They may merge into your lane without looking.
- Distracted Driving—The leading cause of all types of vehicle collisions. Drivers using their cell phones while driving lose their sense of awareness. They are truly a danger to bicyclists, other drivers, and themselves.
- Speeding—Drivers who speed aren’t left with much time to react when something or someone is in their way. If they are going too fast, they’ll cause serious harm if they are involved in an accident. Even at low speeds, vehicles are dangerous to cyclists.
- Impaired Driving—In Las Vegas, you have to be extra careful on the road during the evening hours. People go around town, have a few drinks, and think it’s okay to drive home. They make impaired decisions while on the road. Unfortunately, these impaired decisions directly affect cyclists. According to the NHTSA report (pg.6), almost 40 percent of all cyclist accidents involved a driver with at least a BAC of 0.08 g/dL.
- Driver Fatigue—Fatigued drivers are as much of a risk and danger as driving impaired. Look for the signs of a fatigued driver and maintain distance. The signs are similar to drunk driving. They sway within their lane, drive at abnormal speeds, tailgate, or miss traffic signs or signals. Always be on alert for these types of behavior.
Many of these accidents are nearly impossible to avoid. Unlike a motorcycle, bicyclists aren’t able to compensate for speed changes or get away from immediate danger as quickly. Be wary of your surroundings and wear the proper gear. For more information about financial compensation for bicyclist accidents, call Dimopoulos Injury Law.
What to Do After A Bike Accident
The first thing you need to do, if you are able, is move to a safe area and call emergency services. Document the accident even if it is minor. If you end up filing a lawsuit later on, you’ll have a documented source to help you with your case. Above all else, your physical being takes top priority. Once you’ve determined your physical abilities are acceptable, take as many photos as you can. Take photos of the license plate, bodily injuries, the street, where you were at the time of the accident, and the condition of your bike and the car involved. Before speaking with your insurance company, speak to a bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Insurance companies will attempt to pay you as little as they can, but a lawyer will gather all the information needed to ensure you get the most money possible. Dimopoulos Injury Law will do everything possible to help you with your case. A negligent driver cannot go unpunished after driving with so little regard for other riders’ safety. Call us today to receive your due settlement!
Safety Reminders to Prevent Bicycle Accidents
Decrease the risk of bicycle accidents with a few of these helpful tips and rules that will help you be more aware of your surroundings. These tips from the National Highway Traffic Association will ensure that you are riding defensively and safely at all times.
- Properly fitted helmet – As the NHTSA says, “every bike ride begins with putting on a helmet”. A properly fitted helmet is a life-or-death scenario. Without one, any accident you’re involved in could be fatal or involve severe injuries. At least with a helmet on, your chances of surviving are much higher. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a non-profit research and educational organization dedicated to highway safety, has found that wearing a helmet decreases the chance of a head injury by 50 percent, and the chances of head, face or neck injury by 33 percent. Most bicycle deaths that have occurred were due to head injury. Wear a helmet! It’ll protect you from a dangerous scenario.
- Prepare Yourself Before Leaving – Make sure your bike is the right fit, especially if you’re borrowing one from someone else. It’s more difficult to control a bike that is too big or too small for you. Check your bike equipment to ensure that you’re prepared for the weather or the time of day that you’re riding. Reflective gear is highly recommended if you’re riding at night. Lastly, plan your route! Choose routes with lesser amounts of traffic if possible. Let people know where you’re going and at what time you should be back. If you’re severely injured, people will know where to look for you.
- Ride defensively – This means anticipating what drivers, riders, or pedestrians will do ahead of time. This allows you to quickly react and notice when a potential danger or hazard will put you in harm’s way. You should be riding with the flow of traffic and obey all the same traffic laws motor vehicles follow. This includes following traffic light laws, signs, and road markings.
- Drive Predictably – Always make sure you let others know what you’re going to do. Follow basic hand signaling rules to keep other drivers informed of your intentions on the road. Slow down when you see pedestrians on the sidewalk and audibly let them know where you are by saying ‘on your left’ or use your bicycle bell to alert them.
By following these tips, you are less likely to involve yourself in a bike accident. However, the road is still unpredictable, and you can only do so much to protect yourself. Call Dimopoulos Injury Law to receive a free consultation on your bicycle accident case. We will ensure you get your due compensation.
Nevada State Biking Laws
Nevada has unique riding laws that are specific to the state. There are also local ordinances for each city, so make sure you research those to ensure optimal safety and avoid traffic violations. Las Vegas, for example, prohibits bicyclists from riding on the freeway. In the state of Nevada, bicycles are required to obey all of the same laws as motor vehicles. There is also a red light law that gives bicyclists and motorcyclists permission to run a red light when the traffic signal is not detecting their presence after a few rotations. When bicyclists are changing lanes or turning, they are required by law to utilize hand signals before they make their move. Cyclists are not required to ride on the shoulder, but they do need to ride as far to the right as possible and in the same direction as traffic. The only time riding on the left side is acceptable is if the rider is turning left or when the right side is unsafe. Remember, all bicyclists will receive citations if they are found not following the laws of the road. Follow the safety laws and have fun! Dimopoulos Injury Law will happily answer any questions you have about bicycling laws and ordinances in Las Vegas or in the state.
Dimopoulos Injury Law works with accident victims on a contingency fee and offers a free consultation. A contingency fee means we take a percentage of your earnings from the court. More often than not, the earnings take into account whether you’re paying for a lawyer to win your case. All of our attorneys are trained to handle any case at any time. We’ll gladly help you through difficulties that may arise as we investigate your case. Your first priority should be your emotional and physical health. Dimopoulos Injury Law is an award-winning team with the experience to ensure your case receives the best payout possible. Call us now to receive a free consultation.