Most Common Bicycle Accident Injuries

Samuel Nordean, ESQ. Founding partner of Nordean Law, APC
Samuel Nordean, ESQ. Founding partner of Nordean Law, APC

Samuel ‘Sam’ Nordean is a founding partner of Nordean Law, APC. He is passionate about standing up for people who struggle with accidental injuries and mistreatment from insurance companies. He has a Bachelor's and Master of Science degrees in Biochemistry from Portland State University. He got his Juris Doctor degree from Chapman University School of Law. Sam started Nordean Law to commit to helping people who cannot fight for themselves. His strengths are in representing car accident, fatal accidents, negligence cases, and liability accidents.

most common bicycle accident injuries

As bicycles resurface in popularity amongst the health-conscious population, it also brings an increasing number of accidents, resulting in some of the most common bicycle accident Injuries.

Bicycle riders are prone to severe injuries in the event of an accident because of a lack of protective measures.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that, in the United States alone, nearly 1,000 bicyclists die each year, with over 130,000 facing injuries.

Bicycle Accident Statistics in California

Bicycles are quite famous around California. It ranks as the third most bike-friendly state in the United States. California is home to 14.5 percent of the nation’s bike riders. Unfortunately, the growing popularity of bicycles also poses threats as California ranks first in total bike accident fatalities nationwide (also due to it being the most populated state in the U.S.).

California Highway Patrol’s recent statistics for 1,997 accidents show that the bicyclist was at fault approximately sixty percent of the time where the rider was severely injured or sustained fatal injuries.

Furthermore, one of their latest accident statistics shows that 141 cyclists died in fatal bike accidents in California. Bicycle accident deaths account for 3 – 4% of the state’s total auto accident deaths (higher than the national average of 2%).

Even in the United States, the U.S. Department of Transportation statistics show that more than 8,000 bicyclists died, and 700,000 were injured in motor vehicle-related crashes in the past decade. More than one-third of all bicycle fatalities involve riders 5 to 20 years old, and 41 percent of nonfatal injuries occur to children under the age of 15.

Bicycle Accident Laws in California

In California, when people take bicycle-related cases to trial, they usually lose two times out of three. So it is important for riders to ride responsibly and avoid taking unnecessary actions that might put them or others in danger.

California was the first state to make it a law that people must wear helmets while riding bicycles, and now 22 other states also have this law. The mentioned laws are based on the most recurring bicycle accidents, and it is best to be aware of the following:

  • CVC 21212 mandates that individuals under 18 must wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet when operating a bicycle, non-motorized scooter, skateboard, or in-line/roller skates on public bike paths, trails, or roadways.
  • Bicyclists are permitted on sidewalks throughout California under CVC 21650(g) and 21206 unless a local municipal ban exists.
  • If cyclists can’t keep up with faster-moving traffic, CVC 21202 requires them to ride as close to the right edge of the road as possible or within a designated bike lane. But according to CVC 21208, a person riding a bicycle is not required to remain in a bike lane if there is something dangerous in the way or if they are making a left or right turn.
  • CVC 21760(a) mandates the Safe Passing Law, requiring motorists to give cyclists at least three feet of space while passing, regardless of the presence of a bike lane.
  • It is illegal to operate a bicycle while impaired by drugs or alcohol under CVC 21200.5, as it can result in serious accidents.

Getting indulged in bicycle accidents is a hassle that is best avoided. Even the most common bicycle accident injuries pose greater threats. If you are responsible for external damage, you will most likely face legal issues, which can be even more daunting. So it’s important to ride your bike safely and responsibly.

This means following basic traffic rules like letting people walk first, riding along with the traffic, using lights and reflectors on your bike, riding on the right side of the road, and using the bike lanes.

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Types of Bicycle Accident Injuries

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation statistics, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are treated in emergency rooms each year, and more than 700 people die due to bicycle-related injuries.

Bicycle injuries may be less occurring, and bicycles are often deemed a safe means of transportation. But it does not rule out that bicycle accidents rarely occur or are always less severe. Out of the most common bicycle accident injuries, here are a few prominent examples:

Head Injuries

Bicycle accidents often result in head injuries because they lack protection while riding. The injuries can vary from mild to severe depending upon the impact felt. Head injuries can lead to symptoms like memory loss, headaches, confusion, dizziness, and blurry vision.

In the U.S. alone, bicycle crashes cause approximately 247 traumatic brain injury deaths and 140,000 head injuries among children and teenagers under the age of 20 every year.

Wearing helmets could prevent up to 184 of these deaths and 116,000 head injuries annually.

Furthermore, here are some of the most common bicycle accident head injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Concussions
  • Skull fracture
  • Hematoma (clotting on or inside the brain)
  • Maxillofacial trauma (facial fractures)

Upper Body Injuries

During any accidental fall, humans will normally act out their instincts and try to avoid the impact of the fall by using their hands or arm. This results in wrist injuries, collarbone fractures, or shoulder damage. In addition, Clavicle or collarbone fractures are common and may require further surgery, sometimes even resulting in lasting deformities.

Injuries to the shoulder, arm, elbow, or hand can result from broken bones caused by the impact of a bicycle accident. Other additional effects may include road rash, a painful friction burn (sometimes resulting in infections), nerve damage, ligament damage, and emotional distress such as anxiety or depression.

Lower Body Injuries

Bicycle injuries mostly occur in the legs and feet. The most common bicycle accident injury affecting the lower portion of your body are broken ankle, leg, or foot.

Even the slightest of bicycle accidents can cause serious leg injuries like a pelvic fracture that may lead to long-term mobility challenges. In addition, the pelvis, one of the largest bones in the body, is essential for activities like walking, running, and many other movements.

Spinal Injuries

In a bicycle accident, you’re more likely to experience a greater impact due to the lack of protective coverings, potentially causing you to fall or be thrown off your bike. Unfortunately, such forceful incidents can lead to serious spinal cord injuries. These injuries happen when the spinal bones, ligaments, disks, or the spinal cord itself, become damaged.

A significant spinal cord injury can result from a sudden, intense blow to the spine, causing the spinal bones to break, shift, crush, or compress.

Where Do Most Bicycle Accidents Occur?

As per the 2017 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, most bicycle accidents (75%) occurred in urban areas, with the remaining 25% in rural regions. The data provided additional insights:

Intersections were the site of 27% of fatal bicycle accidents.

Other road areas, excluding intersections, accounted for 63% of these incidents.

Other locations, such as sidewalks, medians, trails, roadsides, and parking lanes, made up 10% of the accidents.

Furthermore, the NHTSA’s research revealed that the most common time for fatal bicycle accidents is between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. on weekends.

Preventing Bicycle Accident Injuries

Prevention is better than cure; thus, we highly recommend bicycle riders ride carefully and responsibly.

To minimize the risk of bicycle-related injuries, here are some helpful precautions:

  • Always wear a helmet that fits properly, regardless of your age.
  • Ensure that your bike is the appropriate size for your body.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing during the daytime.
  • Wear reflective clothing at night.
  • Install lights on your bike, such as a blinking red or white light.

Cyclists carry a higher risk of experiencing severe injuries because they are exposed and have no protection covers like cars. However, cyclists should do everything possible to prevent accidents or injuries because even a small mistake can lead to devastating, sometimes even fatal consequences.

Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney in California

Enduring a bicycle accident can be a traumatizing experience, leaving you to face the challenge of securing fair compensation while dealing with your severe injuries.

In this fragile moment, deciphering and getting through the complicated legal and insurance policies while contending with insurance companies can be incredibly daunting. You are worthy of the most skilled and compassionate injury attorney to champion your cause.

This is where we excel.

Our law firm was established with the core objective of holding insurance companies accountable and relentlessly pursuing fair compensation for accident victims.

We continue to stand firm in our commitment.

Nordean Law takes pride in our outstanding team of accident attorneys, recognized for consistent success and superior negotiation abilities in California.

Our lawyers have access to a wealth of resources, enabling us to construct a formidable case for you meticulously.

Don’t face this difficult journey alone — let us be your steadfast champions in the fight for justice. Contact one of our representatives today to book a free consultation program.


As cycling gains popularity in California, there’s a greater risk of vulnerability for those who choose this mode of transportation. Bicycle accidents can lead to severe lifelong injuries, even fatalities, due to the lack of cover protection like cars. Most common bicycle accident injuries include injuries to the head (concussions or traumatic brain injuries or even hemorrhages), injuries to the back (neck or spine), fractures, bruises, and psychological or emotional damages.

California has established laws to ensure justice and compensation for those involved in bicycle accidents. However, navigating the legal process can be tricky without the help of an experienced attorney in California.

Acquire top-notch legal services from Nordean Law, an expert bicycle accident lawyer in California, to receive maximum compensation and rightful justice.

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