In recent years, Louisiana has become the second-most dangerous state for bicyclists in the United States, with 3.93 deaths for every million residents. As the number of deaths has slowly risen, researchers have pinpointed the lack of infrastructure to support the use of the environmentally-friendly mode of transportation as one of the reasons for the uptick. Hazardous road conditions, poor street maintenance and negligent drivers put cyclists at danger, and while there are precautions you can take to protect yourself, some accidents unfortunately can’t be avoided.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Louisiana bicycle laws are in place to create a safer environment, so if you’re going to hop on a bike, it’s important you understand these laws so you stay aware of your rights and responsibilities. Below are a few ways you can protect yourself:
- Know the correct arm and hand signals to alert other drivers to changes in your movement
- Ride in the same direction as traffic
- Stay to the right of the road when riding more slowly than traffic
- Use proper equipment, such as mounted lamps, reflectors and working brakes, on your bike
- Follow relevant traffic laws when riding in a vehicle lane
By law, only children under 12 are required to wear a helmet while biking, though it is recommended everyone wear one to protect from traumatic brain injuries.
What Are the Most Common Dangers?
Uneven roads, potholes and other hazardous conditions are dangerous, but cars pose the biggest threat to cyclists. Negligent drivers ignore traffic laws, use the bike lane indiscriminately, and fail to yield, which can result in horrific injuries if they strike a bicyclist. Below are a few of the most common ways these accidents occur:
- Motorist enters road: When a driver enters a road from a driveway or parking spot and doesn’t see a cyclist
- Motorists fails to yield: The driver doesn’t stop for a cyclist and runs a stop light or sign
- Motorist turns in front of cyclist: When the driver turns left or right and cuts off a cyclist
- Motorist passes cyclist: This occurs when a driver doesn’t see the person on the bike and sideswipes them
What Do I Do If I’m Injured in an Accident?
As with any other accident, if you are injured, the first thing you should do is immediately seek medical attention. Next, you should collect all the information you can get from the driver, such as name, address, driver’s license number and insurance policy information. Finally, you should enlist the legal guidance of a personal injury attorney. They can help you obtain evidence, talk to the insurance company and get you the compensation needed for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact our New Orleans personal injury attorneys at The Womac Law Firm. Call (504) 470-3935 for a free consultation.