Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accident Injuries

As more and more people turn to bicycles as a mode of transportation, the risk of bicycle accident injuries has increased immensely. While riding a bicycle is a fun and healthy activity, it can equally be dangerous, especially when you are sharing the road with motor vehicles.

Bicycle accidents can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, more than 130,000 bicyclists suffered injuries and more than 1,000 died.. With the increasing rate of bicycle accidents, it’s important to understand the common causes of bicycle accident injuries and how to stay safe while riding.

Statistics on Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents can result in serious injuries, and unfortunately, they are quite common. The statistics below give you a good insight into bicycle accidents in the United States.

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 857 bicyclist fatalities in 2018 in the United States.
  • In 2018, bicyclist deaths accounted for 2.3% of all traffic fatalities in the United States.
  • California had the highest number of bicyclist fatalities of any state in 2018, with 155 deaths.
  • According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were 11,104 bicyclist injuries and fatalities in California in 2019.
  • The number of deaths from bicycle accidents increased by 16% in 2020 and increased by 44% in the span of 10 years, from 873 in 2011 to 1,260 in 2020.

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10 Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

The statistics above highlight the importance of why we should be aware of the common causes of bicycle accidents and take steps to prevent them. Below are listed the 10 common causes of bicycle accidents and the ways to prevent them.

1. Failure to Yield

Drivers often fail to yield to bicyclists, which is one of the common reasons for serious accidents. This can occur when a motorist fails to see a cyclist at intersections, crosswalks, or points where the cyclist has the right of way.

One way to reduce these types of accidents is for bicyclists to always assume they are invisible to motorists.. Moreover, they should take defensive measures, such as wearing bright clothing and equipping their bicycles with lights when riding at night.

2. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is another leading cause of bicycle accidents. Motorists who are texting, eating, or engaging in other distracting activities may not see cyclists or may swerve into their path. This is dangerous, especially for cyclists as they have less protection than drivers in a car.

As a bicyclist, you should always be alert to the surroundings and never assume that drivers are paying attention.

3. Not Obeying Traffic Signals and Signs

Bicyclists who disobey traffic signals and signs are significantly vulnerable to bicycle accidents. They can suffer severe injuries and be ineligible for compensation if at fault.
You should always follow traffic laws and signals and never run over red lights or stop signs. And it is your responsibility as a cyclist to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

4. Poor Road Conditions

Poor road conditions are one of the major causes of bicycle accidents. Potholes, cracks, and debris on the road can result in losing control of the bicycle and lead to an accident. Bicyclists should always be aware of their surroundings and adjust their speed and riding style accordingly.

5. Riding Against Traffic

Riding against traffic is another common cause of bicycle accidents. When you ride against traffic, it makes it harder for motorists to see you, and you will likely have an accident. Always ride with traffic and follow traffic laws and signals. .

6. Dooring

Dooring bicycle accidents occur when someone hits a cyclist with their car door. This can lead to the cyclist being thrown from their bike and suffering severe injuries.

7. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence (DUI) is the most dangerous cause of bicycle accidents. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their reaction time and ability to make rational decisions are impaired.

In 2022, 30% of traffic fatalities in California were due to drunk driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 29 people die every day from DUI accidents across the United States.

If you are involved in a bicycle accident caused by a driver under the influence, you must seek legal advice and immediately find a bicycle accident lawyer to get compensation for your injuries and other losses. You can connect with Nordean Law to choose the best personal injury lawyers in California.

8. Inexperienced Bicyclists

Inexperienced bicyclists are always at risk of bicycle accident injuries. Novice riders often don’t know how to properly handle their bike, and how to react in dangerous situations. Novice riders should consider taking a cycling safety course and learning the road rules.

9. Poor Visibility

Poor visibility could be another reason for bicycle accidents, particularly during early morning, dusk, or nighttime. Motorists may be unable to see cyclists in low light conditions or inclement weather which can lead to a collision. Bicyclists should equip their bikes with lights and wear bright clothing while riding in poor visibility settings.

10. Equipment Failure

Equipment failures such as brake failure, tire blowouts, or chain failure can cause severe bicycle accident injuries. Regular maintenance and inspection of bicycles can help you prevent accidents caused by equipment failure.

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Who Is Liable for Bicycle Accidents?

Determining the liable party for bicycle accidents depends on various factors in the United States. Particularly in California, the liability for bicycle accidents is determined based on the principle of negligence. Negligence means failing to act with reasonable care, thereby causing bicycle accident injuries to another person. The negligence can be attributed to anyone whose reclessness or carelessness resulted in an accident.

According to the California bicycle accident law the following parties may be liable for bicycle accidents:


Drivers are often held liable for bicycle accident injuries, especially when they fail to exercise reasonable care. . For example, a driver who runs a red light or fails to yield to a bicyclist at an intersection is responsible for the resulting injuries or damages.


Bicyclists can also be liable for accidents if they acted recklessly or carelessly. For example, a bicyclist who rides on the wrong side of the road or fails to signal a turn can be held responsible for the resulting accidents.


Pedestrians are held liable for bicycle accidents when they act negligently, such as jaywalking or walking in a bike lane.


Manufacturers of bicycles or bicycle parts can be held liable for accidents if they produced a defective product that caused the accident.

Note that liability for bicycle accident injuries can only be determined on a case-by-case basis, and it can be complicated to establish fault.

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Damages That Can Be Recovered from Bicycle Accidents

When bicyclists are involved in accidents, they may suffer various damages, both physical and financial. The bicycle law in California allows the victim to seek compensation for these damages from the liable party. Below are listed the damages that can be recovered from bicycle accidents:

1. Medical Expenses

Medical expenses are often the most significant damages that victims of bicycle accidents have to deal with. They may include the cost of your emergency room visits, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care. If the victim has health insurance, their insurance company may cover some of their medical expenses. However, if the victim doesn’t have health insurance, the at-fault party is responsible for paying the full amount of the medical bills.

2. Lost Wages

Following a bike accident, the victim has to recover from their car accident injuries and while they recover, they may miss work, resulting in the loss of wages and other income. If the injury is severe enough, the victim may not be able to return to work at all and it can result in long-term disability and lost earning capacity. In such bicycle accident cases, the victim can seek compensation for the lost wages and lost earning capacity.

3. Property Damage

A bicycle accident victim may also suffer property damage. Their bicycle may be damaged or destroyed in the accident. In that case, if the other party is found liable for the accident, the victim can seek compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing their bicycle. They can also seek compensation for other properties that were damaged or destroyed in the accident. They may include their cell phone, smartwatch, glasses, helmet, and backpack.

4. Pain and Suffering

In addition to injuries, bicycle accidents can cause emotional suffering as well. These damages are called “pain and suffering” and are compensable under California bicycle accident law. Pain and suffering can include physical pain, emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. It’s challenging to put a dollar amount on pain and suffering, but a good bicycle accident lawyer in California can help you get the compensation you deserve.

5. Wrongful Death Damages

If a bicyclist is killed in an accident, their surviving family members can seek compensation for wrongful death damages. These damages include loss of companionship, funeral- and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and other losses related to the death of the victim.

Schedule a Free Bicycle Accident Consultation at Nordean Law

If you or a loved one have been involved in a bicycle accident in California, you must seek legal advice as soon as possible. Nordean Law offers free consultations to help you understand your legal rights and options. During your consultation, we review the details of your case and provide you with a clear understanding of what you can expect throughout the legal process.

We will explain the different options available for pursuing compensation for your bicycle accident injuries and also file a personal injury lawsuit and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Our team of experienced bicycle accident attorneys in California will work closely with you to build a strong case and fight for the compensation you deserve.

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