Although bicycles are a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transportation, cyclists face significant safety risks every time they mount their bikes and ride near motor vehicles.
Many drivers in Cheyenne don’t respect cyclists’ rights and even resent their presence on the road. Belligerent drivers may become impatient or aggressive instead of sharing the road. Unfortunately, even cautious drivers who want to keep cyclists safe make mistakes that cause serious and even life-threatening injuries.
Motorists are trained to look out for other cars and trucks when they are on the road. Their habits cause their brains to filter out the information they don’t expect – like the presence of a cyclist. That’s dangerous. This unconscious and uncontrollable reaction may cause even a responsible driver to hit a bicyclist.
Bicycle accidents are all too common in Cheyenne and throughout Wyoming. According to a report for the Cheyenne urban area during a recent year, 13 bicyclists were injured in crashes, one of which was fatal. Wyoming created a task force in 2016 to address bicycle and pedestrian safety. Unfortunately, these efforts have not done enough to keep cyclists safe. A recent review from the League of American Bicyclists rated Wyoming as the least bicycle-friendly state in the country.
A serious bicycle accident can devastate you and your family. You may face life-altering injuries and extreme financial strain as a result of the accident. But you have legal options if the accident was someone else’s fault. No one should expect you to pay for the harm that another person’s reckless or careless actions caused. You have the right to seek compensation through a bicycle accident claim. The Cheyenne bicycle accident attorneys at Olson Law Firm are ready to help.
Our attorneys combine effective legal tactics with compassionate counsel so that you can effectively pursue the greatest possible compensation for your claim. We understand the burden you and your loved ones bear after a bicycle accident, and we want to lighten your load.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Cheyenne
Cars, trucks, and motorcycles are some of the greatest risks to cyclists on the road. Most bicyclists take precautions to make their bikes visible, like installing lights and wearing reflective gear. They know that drivers often fail to check their blind spots or miss cyclists when they do check.
Some drivers simply don’t know or refuse to follow precautions that protect cyclists on the road.
Unlike cars, bicycles do not have safety features like steel structures and airbags that reduce the impact of collisions. This makes a bicycle crash extremely dangerous for the rider. Even a helmet provides only minimal protection.
Although drivers should always maintain a safe distance between themselves and any other vehicles on the road, this is especially crucial when driving near a bicycle. Cyclists may be forced to make an unexpected movement or fall, so motor vehicles must be prepared to stop quickly to avoid an accident. If a driver makes a dangerous or careless decision on the road, they are much more likely to cause a serious and even fatal bicycle collision.
Some of the most common ways that drivers cause bicycle accidents include:
- Failing to keep a proper lookout
- Leaving too little space while passing
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Turning into the path of a cyclist
- Distracted driving
- Failing to use headlights and turn signals
- Aggressive driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
Although most serious bicycle accidents involve a collision with a vehicle, sometimes poorly maintained roads or insufficient street lighting can be just as dangerous for a cyclist. In those cases, your attorney may be able to seek compensation for your injuries from a property owner or municipality for their negligent property maintenance or design.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Every bicycle accident is different. Legal experts try to describe accidents clearly so that the location and severity of your collision are clear to opposing attorneys, insurance companies, and judges.
It’s important to understand the different kinds of bicycle accidents so that your accident claim makes the most convincing argument that the person who hurt you is responsible for your injury. Some of the most common types of bicycle accidents include:
- Cross accidents – a vehicle crosses into a bicycle’s path while turning
- Hook accidents – the side of a vehicle hits or hooks onto the bicycle, usually while passing
- Open-door or “dooring” accidents – a person opens a car door in front of a cyclist, usually while the car is parallel parked.
- Rear-end accident – a vehicle hits the back of a bicycle
- Backing accident – a vehicle in reverse collides with a bicycle
- Red light or intersection accidents – a driver does not yield the right of way to a cyclist or does not see a cyclist before turning or stopping
- Road defect accident – potholes, cracks, or other road damage causes a cyclist to fall or lose control of the bicycle
Understanding this terminology can help you and your attorney describe your accident clearly in support of your bike accident settlement. The circumstances that caused your bicycle accident may fall into one or more of these categories, or they may not fit these descriptions at all. No matter how your accident occurred, the attorneys at Olson Law Firm can help you seek fair compensation from the party at fault.
Types of Injuries from Bike Accidents
When you ride a bicycle, your entire body is vulnerable to injury. Although wearing a helmet can help protect your head, the rest of your body is fully exposed to the force of a collision. In particularly serious accidents, even wearing a helmet may not be enough to prevent you from suffering an injury to your skull or brain.
Bicycle accidents cause a wide variety of injuries, including:
- Lacerations and bruises
- Sprains, strains, and dislocations
- Broken or shattered bones
- Neck injuries or whiplash
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ damage
Some of the most serious injuries from a bicycle accident may have life-altering consequences, such as coma, paralysis, amputation, and even death.
If your family member was killed in a bicycle accident that was someone else’s fault, a lawyer can help you file a wrongful death claim. You shouldn’t have to pay for the medical and funeral expenses caused by your loved one’s accident. This type of claim may allow you to recover the financial cost of losing someone you love and a symbolic payment for their pain and suffering.
Since bicycle accidents are so dangerous, both drivers and cyclists must exercise extra caution to prevent injuries. Following Wyoming’s bicycle laws can help.
Cheyenne Bicycle Laws
According to Wyoming Statute § 31-5-702, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as all other vehicles. This means that other drivers must respect a cyclist’s use of the road and yield the right of way, just like they would for any other car.
Cyclists must follow some additional laws to protect their safety. Article 7 of the Wyoming statutes on traffic regulation describes the laws specific to cyclists. According to these laws:
- Bicyclists may transport only the number of riders the bike was designed for.
- Adults may carry a child on their bicycle, as long as the child is secured.
- Cyclists may only ride their bike on the road and should remain as far to the right as possible.
- Cyclists must have at least one hand on the handlebar at all times.
- Bicycles must have a headlight and a rear-reflector for nighttime riding.
As of July 1, 2019, Wyoming’s government amended these regulations to include electric bicycles as well as standard pedal bicycles. Obeying these laws is essential to prevent bicycle accidents. But the burden of biking safely doesn’t fall on the cyclists alone. No matter how cautious you are while riding your bicycle, other drivers can still cause a serious accident if they fail to follow the rules of the road.
Can I Get Compensation for My Bicycle Accident?
If another person’s negligence or recklessness caused your bicycle accident, they may owe you financial compensation for your injuries. The circumstances of your bike accident and the injuries you sustained as a result determine the compensation you may receive as a part of a settlement or judgment.
Bicycle injury claims can recover the physical, emotional, and financial damages caused by your accident, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation services
- Lost income due to time off of work
- Loss of future income
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Transportation to medical appointments
- Repairs or replacement of your bike or other property
A knowledgeable bike accident attorney can determine how much compensation the at-fault party owes you. At Olson Law Firm, we’ll aggressively seek fair compensation for your injuries and fight for your rights.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Cheyenne
You can’t afford to wait for the compensation you need after a bicycle accident. The Cheyenne bicycle accident lawyers at Olson Law Firm are ready to start working on your claim right now. We have helped accident victims across Wyoming recover millions of dollars in settlements, and we can put our skills to work for you.
Olson Law Firm offers a free, no-obligation case review to help you take the first step toward the compensation you need. Contact Olson Law Firm today by calling us or filling out our online form.