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Common Injuries Following a Bicycle Accident

Close-up of a sneakers on the road near bicycle after car accident.

Bicycling is not only an efficient mode of travel, but it is a fantastic way to save money, stay active, and reduce your carbon footprint. That is why so many Americans rely on bicycles for transportation.

Bicycle accidents are more common than you may think, and they can be catastrophic.

The most prominent threat to bicyclists is other vehicles. Without the safety measures of a car, bicyclists are prone to significant injury should they fall or be involved in an accident with a vehicle.

These accidents can be minor, with the bicyclist walking away with a few scrapes. Or, they can have a devastating impact on the bicyclist, potentially leaving them with traumatic brain injuries and paralysis. At their worst, these accidents can be fatal.

For this reason, it is important that drivers and bicyclists alike understand the dangers and risks of sharing the road. One wrong move can change the lives of both parties forever.

What are the most common injuries caused by bicycle accidents?

Without the protection of a vehicle, a bicyclist is likely to face severe injuries following a car-bike accident. Some of the most common injuries to bicyclists are:

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

TBIs are potentially severe injuries that bicyclists face following a crash. Mild TBIs may cause headaches, dizziness, sensory abnormalities (blurred vision, distorted taste and smell, ringing in one or both ears), mood swings, and difficulty sleeping. In more severe cases, TBIs may also cause vomiting, seizures, confusion, slurred speech, and loss of consciousness.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are characterized by any damage to the spinal cord. They most commonly cause:

  • muscle weakness
  • limited sensation in the arms, legs, or chest
  • loss of movement in the arms, legs, or chest
  • difficulty breathing

Spinal cord injuries impact nerve and muscle control, and can even cause paralysis. Severe forms of paralysis may include quadriplegia (loss of function in arms and legs) or paraplegia (loss of function in legs and lower body).

Bone Fractures

It is common for bicyclists to suffer from one or more bone fractures following an accident. Broken bones are common, but must be taken seriously. If left untreated, they can cause complications such as pneumothorax (if one or more of the ribs is broken), infection, scarring, and loss of mobility.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries refer to damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Depending on the severity, they may require a lengthy and uncomfortable recovery.

Facial Injuries

In a bicycle crash, it is likely that any impact to the face will cause damage. It is common for bicyclists to suffer from broken noses, jaws, and teeth.

Road Rash

Road rash is a term for friction scrapes on the outer layer of skin, leaving it raw and inflamed. While generally not dangerous, it can be painful and sometimes lead to infection.

Internal Bleeding

The force of a traumatic accident, such as a bicycle accident, can cause internal bleeding and organ damage. Internal bleeding may cause abdominal pain, dizziness, abnormal bruising, confusion, and fever.

If you are in an accident, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately, even if your injuries are seemingly minor. This is crucial to ensuring complete and speedy healing, and decreases the risk of future complications.

Recent Incidents in Metro Atlanta

On April 13, 2024, a 71-year-old bicyclist was crossing an intersection when he was hit by a car in Forsyth County. The bicyclist was pronounced dead at the scene, and the driver has been charged with vehicular homicide and DUI.

On Thanksgiving Day of 2023, a 70-year-old cyclist was involved in a hit-and-run in DeKalb County. He suffered brain trauma and was paralyzed from the neck down before he succumbed to his injuries, according to his family.

According to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, 88% of pedestrian deaths occur on 8% of Atlanta’s streets, and they are all preventable. They constructed a list of the 10 most poorly designed streets in Atlanta that experience the most bicycle accidents, and are pleading with the government to improve the road conditions.

Treatment for bicycle accidents

Injuries from car-bike crashes can be devastating.

Moderate to severe TBIs and spinal cord injuries require immediate care. You may require mechanical ventilation, intensive care, or a feeding tube. You will likely require rehabilitation/therapy, along with medications to treat pain and swelling.

Like TBIs and spinal cord injuries, internal bleeding requires immediate medical attention. Following a diagnosis, a surgeon will likely need to operate to stop the bleeding or remove the damaged organ.

For bone fractures and soft tissue damage, you may need surgery, physical therapy, and medications. You will also likely need a cast or splint to inhibit mobility to allow the injury to heal properly.

Diagnostic tests will allow your doctor to make a clear diagnosis and treatment plan. These tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • MRIs
  • CT scans
  • Blood tests

Should you file a personal injury claim?

Depending on the accident, damages from a bicycle accident may be extensive. Medical bills can be incredibly costly. It is possible that you may need one or more surgeries, physical therapy/rehabilitation. Additionally, it is likely you will be required to take time off work for various reasons, such as doctor’s appointments or post-operation recovery. If this is the case, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. Whether injuries/damages were physical or emotional, you may also receive compensation for pain and suffering.

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, please contact Gary Martin Hays and Associates today for a free consultation.

If you suffered an injury due to a car accident, work accident, or other incident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact our Georgia personal injury law firm today at (770) 934-8000. Consultations are free and confidential.

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