Bicycle Accident

Common Injuries You Face After a Bicycle Accident: A Guide

Female bicyclist on the ground after suffering an accident with a car.

Cycling has become an increasingly popular mode of transportation and exercise in recent years, but with its rise in popularity comes an increased risk of accidents. Unfortunately, the statistics tell us that in 2020 alone, California reported over 11,000 bicycle accidents, with 9,348 bicycle injuries consequently.

These accidents can have devastating outcomes, ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and even death. Being involved in a bicycle accident can be a traumatic experience, and it's important to know what you could face and what to do immediately after the accident.

The Injuries

1. Head and Brain Injuries:

Graphic art of a male brain highlighted on the front.
Image by kjpargeter on Freepik

Head and brain injuries are among the most severe and dangerous injuries cyclists may experience. According to recent statistics, head injuries account for about 60% of all bicycle accident fatalities. Even if the victim survives, they may suffer from long-term disabilities or cognitive impairments. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85%, but it cannot completely prevent them. The scary factor of this injury is that it may not be immediately apparent, it could take hours, days or even weeks to show symptoms, which is why it’s so important to always check yourself with trained professionals. If you believe you are suffering a head or brain injury, immediately contact emergency services to check on you, don’t move and avoid any physical strain, ask for help from nearby bystanders to assist you in taking photos or information of the accident.

Common Symptoms: Headache, Loss of consciousness, Nausea, Confusion, Dizziness, Blurred Vision, and Memory Loss.  

2. Spinal Cord Injuries:

Medical professional treating back pain on a female.
Image by stefamerpik on Freepik

Spinal cord injuries have a huge impact on your daily life, they can cause paralysis, loss of sensation, and chronic pain. Although spinal cord injuries only account for about 10% of all bicycle accident injuries, it's still a concerning statistic that highlights the severity of these types of injuries. If you suspect you have a spinal cord injury, do not move until medical professionals arrive, they will immobilize your neck and back to prevent further injury. If you are conscious make sure to tell good Samaritans nearby not to move you and to assist in recollecting evidence and contacting medical assistance.

Common Symptoms: Loss of sensation, Paralysis, Chronic Pain, Difficulty breathing, Loss of bowel or bladder control.

3. Fractures:

Nurse showing male patient his fracture on x-ray, while he has an ankle cast.
Image by pvproductions on Freepik

Fractures, or broken bones are present in 30% of all bicycle accidents, and they can occur in different parts of the body. In most cases, fractures occur due to the force of impact during the accident, and they can range from simple fractures to more severe compound fractures. Fractures in the arms and legs are among the most common types of fractures in bicycle accidents. A person may experience a fracture in the upper arm, forearm, wrist, or hand, or in the thigh, shin, or ankle. Fractures in the ribs or pelvis are less common, but can be severe. Fractures and broken bones are very painful, despite this, it can help the victim determine it quickly. Make sure to avoid any physical movement on that body part and seek medical attention to be treated appropriately.

Symptoms: Pain, Swelling, Difficulty Moving, Visible Deformity.

4. Road Rash:

Knee road rash closeup.
Image By Rungnapa

Road rash is a common injury in bicycle accidents, and it is caused by sliding on the pavement.  When a cyclist falls off their bike, their skin can come into contact with the rough pavement, resulting in abrasions or cuts. Road rash can occur on any part of the body, but it is most commonly found on the legs, arms, hands, and face. Road rash can range in severity, with some cases causing only minor scrapes and others resulting in deep abrasions that may require medical attention. The severity of the injury depends on various factors, such as the speed of the cyclist, the roughness of the pavement, and the use of protective clothing. Regardless of the severity, make sure to immediately clean the injury with fresh water, if you have a way to disinfect it with alcohol, even better. It’s ideal to do this as soon as possible as it greatly reduces the risk of infection which cam turn this injury into a worst nightmare.

Common Symptoms: Pain, Tenderness, Redness, Bleeding, Swelling, Blister Formation.

5. Soft Tissue Injuries:

Female with a bandage on a soft tissue injury.
Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik

Soft tissue injuries are caused by sudden impacts, twists, or jerks that can occur during a bicycle accident. When a cyclist falls off their bike or collides with a vehicle, the impact can cause damage to the soft tissues in their body. Soft tissue injuries may include sprains, strains, and bruises, and can affect various parts of the body, such as the neck, back, shoulders, and limbs. Although it may sound like a light injury, if left untreated it may lead to long-term consequences such as chronic pain and limited mobility, which could have a detrimental impact on your daily living and work. If you feel this injury the most important thing to do is to discard any potential threats and treat yourself accordingly following medical professionals’ advice.

Common Symptoms: Pain, Tenderness, Swelling, Bruising, Weakness, Instability, Difficulty Walking, Numbness, Tingles.

Conclusion

Bicycle accidents can cause a range of injuries that can drastically impact your life, from minor road rash to life-changing spinal cord injuries. Your priority should always be to seek immediate medical attention and focus on your recovery. That's where a personal injury attorney can help.

It's important to remember that prevention is the best medicine. Always wear a helmet when cycling, obey traffic laws, and stay alert to your surroundings. If you're involved in a bicycle accident, seek medical attention immediately, and document your injuries and any expenses associated with your treatment. With the right support and guidance, you can navigate the aftermath of a bicycle accident and move forward with confidence.

With an experienced personal injury attorney by your side, you don't have to face the legal system alone. They can provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate the complex legal process and obtain the justice and compensation you deserve. By taking on the task of gathering evidence and building a strong case on your behalf, they allow you to focus on what's most important - your recovery and healing. With their help, you can confidently pursue your legal options and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. Don't let a bicycle accident derail your life - let an experienced attorney help you get back on track.

Credits: Main Image by prostooleh on Freepik

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