Bicycling Accidents In Las Vegas
Bicycling is a fun recreational activity for many people, and for others, it's a convenient way to travel from one place to another in an urban area. As its popularity grows, so too do accommodations. Bicycling paths are a common part of community, city, and state-wide planning. Thousands of residents in Las Vegas use bicycles as their main form of transportation.
The mild climate allows cyclists to stay on the road all year round, and the city has contributed to Las Vegas' bike-friendly reputation by creating over 400 miles of bike lanes and paths within the city limits. Unfortunately, every year cyclists are killed by cars and trucks in Nevada, and most often in Las Vegas. As a city of over half a million and growing, more and more cars appear on the road every day, and tourists who are enamored with the city may fail to notice cyclists on the road around them. Now, bicyclists can be found on and off the road just about everywhere.
The increase in bicycles, however, has been followed by an increase in bicycle accidents. When a cyclist is in an accident, whether with another cyclist, pedestrian, or motor vehicle, serious injuries can result. The Nevada Department of Transportation published a study in 2010 which reported that there were 583 crashes involving bicyclists in the state of Nevada and six deaths. The number of deaths per year has fluctuated since then, and the city has taken steps to improve bicycle safety, but news reports of tragic accidents and bicycle deaths are still common.
You may be able to recover compensation when another party is at fault. Compensation can include bodily injury, property damage, lost wages, and more. At The Jacks Law Group, our bicycle accident lawyer in Nevada can help you develop a personal injury claim that addresses all the damages you or your loved one suffered. Contact us today at (702) 834-6300 to schedule a free consultation and get started on your claim.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Nevada
Unlike car accidents, there is no protection for cyclists from the full force of a car that strikes them. Because of this vulnerability, even low-speed accidents can result in severe injuries and a long recovery time. The most common injuries in cycling accidents include bone fractures, head, neck, and spinal injuries, nerve damage, and joint dislocation. Head and brain injuries are common because cyclists are often thrown over the handlebars of their bikes, landing on their head.
Bicycle accidents can happen anywhere, at any time, for any number of reasons. There are, however, certain situations that tend to lead to more bicycle accidents.
- Getting struck by a car, which is the most common cause of bicycle accidents (as well as the most deadly), according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA)
- Hitting something in the road, which is also very common and can be the result of poor road conditions, poor road maintenance, or things like debris
- Swerving to avoid a person or an animal, the animal of which may be a domestic or wild animal
- Low visibility because bicycles are small and are difficult to see, especially at certain times of the day (dusk and dawn)
- Forget to check their blind spot for bicycles before merging
- Turn right directly in front of cyclists
- Run stop signs
- Open doors of parked cars without checking for bicycles
- Fail to stop at pedestrian crossings
- Pull out quickly from driveways or parking lots without ensuring a clear bike lane
- Drive too close to cyclists when passing them on the left. In Nevada, vehicles are legally required to give cyclists 3 feet of clearance when passing or move into the left lane when possible.
Cyclists, for their part, are also required to follow laws in Nevada to keep themselves and drivers safe. To remain safe, cyclists should:
- Signal to drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists using arms whenever possible.
- When riding between dusk and dawn, use a white light in front that is visible from 500 feet away, and a red taillight which is visible from 300 feet away.
- Although not legally required in Nevada, wear a helmet. 9 out of 10 cyclists killed by cars are not wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
- Ride as close to the right side of the road as is practical.
- Avoid obstructing your view by carrying bulky objects on the handlebars of your bike.
- Follow all other traffic laws.
Determining the cause of a bicycle accident is a critical part to recovering fair and just compensation for your injuries. When the accident was caused by another person or entity, they are liable for the damages you suffered if they owed you a duty of care.
For example, a car driver owes bicyclists a duty of care on the road, which typically means following the rules of the road. Pedestrians owe a duty of care to be mindful of other people in and around the roads and bike paths. When pedestrians bring their animals on walks, they must control their animals and avoid interfering with the safety of others, like cyclists.
Common Cyclist Injuries in Las Vegas
Injuries from bike accidents range from scratches to death. Like any accident, the severity is dependent on the circumstances. Common injuries include:
- Facial or dental injuries
- Road rash
- Dislocated or broken bones or fractures
- Severe knee injuries, including tears of the ACL or MCL, from the impact with the car
- Severe hand and wrist injuries from the impact with the ground
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal injuries
Something unique to bicyclists are injuries caused by “dooring.” Dooring occurs when someone in a parked car opens the door without looking first. A cyclist fails to see the door open in time and collides with the door. Injuries associated with this type of accident include the above but often also include:
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
Wearing a helmet and other protective gear helps prevent serious injuries, but they are not enough to protect against automobiles. In worse case scenarios, wrongful death may occur.
Bicycle Accidents in Nevada and Personal Injury Claims
A bicycle accident often leaves the cyclist with severe injuries and property damage, both of which can be expensive. Insurance companies typically make a settlement offer that they claim will cover the victim's losses. However, insurance adjusters often rush to offer a settlement without a full evaluation of the injuries (and the potential ongoing care that may be required). Without a full and fair understanding of all losses, any settlement offer will be too little.
An alternative to auto insurance settlement is filing a personal injury lawsuit. This process allows you the time needed to fully understand your current and future economic losses. It also allows you to compensate for one big hurdle in bicycle injury cases: the misconception of cyclists.
Cyclists are often believed to be reckless. Insurance companies assume cyclists do not follow the rules of the road like their driver counterparts. They will use these misconceptions to help build their case against you, and sometimes it can work because often it is your word against the other person's word. Bicyclists can, therefore, be intimidated and manipulated into accepting reduced settlement payouts. That's why you need a bicycle injury attorney helping you through the process so that you can focus on recovering while they focus on your claim to obtain full and fair compensation.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Nevada Today
Bicycle accidents can produce serious injuries. If you suffered losses, it is critical to speak with a bicycle accident lawyer in Nevada today. At The Jacks Law Group, we will explain your rights and what your options are if you decide to move forward with a personal injury claim. Contact us today at (702) 834-6300 to get more information and schedule a free consultation.