When you envision a bicycle accident, you probably see it along the following lines—high-traffic intersection, cars whizzing past, making a turn, and getting struck by an intoxicated person, a texting teenager, or a mom trying to wipe crayons off the face of her toddler in the seat behind her. You know that sometimes small children take a spill on their bicycle when they’re first learning, scrape a knee, and then get back up again; but in most cases, a bicycle accident involves a bicycle and a motor vehicle.
In fact, bicyclists face a number of road risks on the road that don’t even have wheels. Many road conditions that do not affect a heavy vehicle like an automobile are treacherous and potentially deadly to bicyclists with less weight and traction. These should not be made light of—losing control of a bicycle can result in consequences as dire as those associated with motor vehicles.
Potholes can be caused by wear and tear on a road over time or by poor-quality roadwork. You know that potholes can cause horrible damage to your tires. This is reason enough to avoid them. Another reason is that hitting a pothole at high speed on a bicycle can catapult its rider into the air.
- Sewer Grates
Improbable as it sounds, there is actually a risk of bicycle tires becoming stuck in sewer grates that face in the same direction as traffic. Needless to say, a sudden halt in your commute can jeopardize your place on your bicycle (and, momentarily, your internal organs’ place in your abdomen).
Railroad tracks or trolley tracks can be dangerous, no matter how they’re situated. In any position, they pose a risk for a bicyclist being thrown into the street or another vehicle. To mitigate this risk, warning signs should be posted or, if they are rarely used or unsafe, the tracks should be removed.
- Oil Slicks
A car passing over an oil leak in the road will never know what hit it because, essentially, nothing did. A bicyclist will never know what hit them because to them, an oil slick is a basically invisible, extremely slippery grease stain.
- Wetness in General
This is one area in which bicycles may have an advantage over cars—they cannot hydroplane. That being said, water on the road can create slick spots and make riding conditions unsafe if the street has many puddles or hidden metal gratings, sheeting, etc.
- Lane Stripes
Like sewer grates, this hazard is non-intuitive. However, paint stripes have been known to cause people to lose control of their bicycles and go off the road—sometimes because they become wet and slippery.
Cracks in the asphalt are dangerous in much the same way that potholes are, except that they may be complicated by the direction in which they run.
In rocky Utah, bicycle accidents can conceivably occur on almost any shoulder of road. Why? Because there is gravel everywhere; and because this condition can be worsened because of perpetual construction projects. Small rocks that will not catch the eye have caused many people to skid or fall, sometimes quite far.
If you believe you have been the victim of unsafe bicycling conditions, don’t suffer in silence. Christensen & Hymas has a long, illustrious history of helping bicyclists receive compensation for injuries sustained unjustly. To find out whether your case qualifies for a personal injury suit, call 801-506-0800.