Cycling, an environmentally-friendly and heart-healthy way to travel, has significant safety risks – more than 130,000 bicyclists are injured each year in the United States . Unlike a car accident, where the car provides some protection, in a bike accident your body takes the full brunt of the impact, leading to catastrophic injuries that can change your entire life in a split second.
While the name sounds benign, the condition is far from it. Road rash occurs when a bicyclist is thrown off their bike and skids or is dragged on the ground. This breaks the rider’s skin where they land and can embed dirt, glass shards, insects, or anything else on the ground into the rider’s skin. This can occur on any body part that hits the ground, and is commonly found on the face, hands, arms, and legs. The victim may need to have items surgically extricated from their skin and body at the hospital. Depending on the severity of the road rash, this can cause permanent scarring, disfiguration, and infection. In some cases, skin grafts and reconstructive surgery are necessary.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that “bicycling leads to the highest number of sport and recreation–related emergency department (ED) visits for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the United States” . TBIs occur when the bicyclist’s head violently hits the ground or another object, injuring the brain. TBIs range in severity from mild, which can cause headaches, to severe, which can cause a coma or seizures. Even a mild TBI can impact a person’s ability to work and participate in daily activities for months until the brain heals.
Another common type of head injury is a skull or facial fracture. If the skull breaks, the bicyclist may need surgery to repair it to prevent damage to their brain or bleeding. If a bone in the cyclist’s face breaks, they may need reconstructive surgery to repair the damage.
The best way to prevent a head injury while biking is to wear a helmet. According to a study cited by the National Safety Council, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a head injury by 60% and of a brain injury by 58%.
In addition to facial fractures, a bicyclist could break their arms, legs, or any other bones. They could even lose teeth, causing them to need dental implants. These injuries can cause pain and make it difficult or impossible to work for months.
If you are in a bicycle accident, seek medical attention immediately. Once your condition is stable, contact the attorneys at Rader Law Group to learn your rights and seek compensation for your injuries.
Rader Law Group, LLC
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CDC. Bicycle Safety | Transportation Safety | Injury Center | CDC. Accessed March 7, 2023.
CDC. Emergency Department Visits for Bicycle-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries Among Children and Adults — United States, 2009–2018 | MMWR (cdc.gov). Accessed March 7, 2023.
NSC. Bicycle Deaths – Injury Facts (nsc.org). Accessed March 7, 2023.