What Are Common Bicycle Accident Injuries?

Bicycle Accident Injuries

Bicycle accident serious injury like traumatic brain injury

Cycling is becoming a more popular way to get around amid high gas prices and congested roads. While it is a healthy and convenient mode of transportation, it can also be dangerous. 

Cyclists must share the road with motorists, who may be speeding, driving while impaired, or distracted. Even a collision at a low speed can cause a bicyclist to suffer serious and life-threatening injuries.

These are some of the most common bicycle accident injuries that we have seen at our law firm


Head Injuries

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), head injuries are responsible for the most fatalities from bicycle accidents. Bicycle helmets are extremely important in preventing serious and fatal head injuries. 

A head injury is a broad term for any type of trauma to the brain, skull, or scalp. Many times, a head injury is referred to as a brain injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI). If a bicyclist is struck by a motor vehicle, they may suffer a skull fracture, concussion, brain contusion, or intracranial hemorrhage. 

Head injuries can include the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Confusion or memory problems


Spinal Cord Injuries

Bicycle accidents can result in spinal cord injuries if the cyclist is forcefully hit. A sudden blow to the spine can fracture, crush, or dislocate the vertebrae. Damage to the spinal cord can cause temporary or permanent change to a person’s strength, feeling, and other body functions below the injury. 

Severe trauma to the spine can cause the following symptoms:

  • Loss of movement
  • Weakness in parts of the body
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Feelings of spreading numbness or tingling
  • Difficulty walking 
  • Trouble breathing 

A serious spinal cord injury is not always obvious. The sooner someone receives medical treatment, the better chance they have at preventing a more serious injury. 


Road Rash

Road rash is a friction wound that happens when the skin is scraped against a hard surface. Falling off a bicycle is one of the most common causes of road rash. While generally not considered serious, this type of skin injury can be extremely painful and leave scarring. The deeper the injury, the more potential it has to damage nerve cells. 

Road rash is especially common in summer, when cyclists wear less and lighter clothing. Common symptoms include redness and swelling, pain, and fluid draining. 


Broken Bones

Bicycle injuries are common injuries

Also known as bone fractures, broken bones are very painful and can take months to heal. The bone may be completely fractured or partially fractured in a number of ways. The severity of the broken bone depends on the force that caused the break. 

A broken bone can be either open or closed. An open fracture, or compound fracture, is where the bone breaks through the skin. A closed fracture is when the bone does not push through the skin. 

Symptoms of a fractured bone include:

  • Swelling and tenderness at the injury site
  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Inability to move a part of your body
  • Deformity with bone protruding through the skin 

Some people who sustain broken bones after a bicycle accident need surgery. Others may need only a cast or brace for the bone to heal. 


Internal Injuries

Trauma from a bike accident can cause internal bleeding, a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition. Many times, internal injuries can go unnoticed because they are not visible. However, it is critical to seek medical attention right away, as early detection can be a life-saver. 

Internal injuries can mean damage to any internal organ, such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, lungs, as well as internal bleeding. Symptoms include:

  • Bruising
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Severe weakness
  • Acute vision problems
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • shortness of breath
  • Chest pain


Emotional Trauma

The aftermath of a bicycle accident can go far beyond physical injuries. Many people who experience a traumatic event like a motor vehicle accident suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These psychological injuries can be far more difficult to treat and may never fully go away.

Symptoms of emotional or psychological trauma include:

  • Sadness and anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Flashbacks related to traumatic event
  • Feeling withdrawn


Facial Injuries 

If you are hit by a car while riding a bicycle, you could sustain a variety of facial injuries due to the vulnerability of the face during such accidents. Common facial injuries include:

  • Broken jawbone: This injury requires immediate medical attention and may involve wiring or bandaging the jaw in place for weeks, affecting speech and eating.
  • Broken nose: A broken nose can be painful and may require a splint or surgery to realign and address breathing complications.
  • Broken cheekbones: Cheekbones can fracture easily upon direct trauma, possibly requiring surgery to repair and potentially causing cosmetic changes.
  • Dental injuries: Accidents can lead to broken or knocked-out teeth, necessitating expensive dental repairs like implants or veneers.
  • Skull fractures: Without a bicycle helmet, it’s possible to fracture the skull upon impact, which can lead to traumatic brain injuries.


Bicycle Accident Fatalities Are Rising 

Severe injuries from bike accidents

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the number of preventable bicycle accident deaths has increased 37% in the last 10 years, from 2012 to 2021. Bicycle fatalities peak in summer, beginning in July and remaining high until October. Males accounted for 88% of all bicycle deaths. 

In California, bicycle-related injuries and deaths remain very high, compared to the rest of the country. A lack of designated bike lanes and speeding motor vehicles are two of the main causes of bike accidents, especially in cities.


Seek Medical Attention Immediately After An Injury

If you sustain injuries in a bicycle accident, the most important thing to do is seek immediate medical treatment. You may think you are fine, but certain injuries like internal injuries do not show symptoms immediately. 

Seeking medical care after a bike accident is a crucial step if you file a personal injury claim. If you do not get treatment, the insurance company will assume you are fine and deny your claim. Keep all of your records and receipts as proof to show the insurance adjuster that you were injured. 


Recovering Damages for Your Injuries

Bicycle riders common injuries

If a driver acted negligently and caused your bicycle injury, you may be able to recover compensation from them. California law allows personal injury victims two years from the date of their accident to file a claim. Damages can include any of the following: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Property damage 

If your loved one suffered fatal injuries, you may be able to sue for wrongful death. This is a sensitive and complex matter that should be handled by an experienced wrongful death lawyer


Sierra Accident Lawyers Is Ready to Fight for You 

These common injuries from bicycle accidents can cause you physical pain and emotional trauma. If you or a loved one was injured by a negligent driver, contact the Rancho Cucamonga bicycle accident attorneys at Sierra Accident Lawyers. Our experienced legal team can help you recover financial compensation from the person who hurt you. 

Call us today for a free consultation at (909) 942-7632

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