With warmer weather, more and more bicyclists are strapping on their helmets and getting on their two-wheelers whether for exercise, commuting to work or simply pure enjoyment.
But trouble in the form of a collision may be just a mere few blocks from their destination. This is why bicyclists always must remain cautious, alert and aware when riding. The behavior of a careless and distracted driver can lead to serious, life-threatening and fatal injuries.
Driver misbehavior contributes to bicyclist injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that an estimated 49,000 bicyclists sustained injuries in the U.S. in 2019. Also, 846 bicyclists died in 2019 in the country with 10 of those fatalities occurring in Maryland.
Meanwhile, the Maryland Department of Transportation recently released information on the state’s traffic fatalities for 2021 and noted that six bicyclists died in crashes last year.
Why do so many bicyclists get injured or die? A major reason stems from the behavior of motor vehicle drivers. Many such collisions are attributed to drivers who speed, change lanes without looking for bicyclists, make sudden and illegal road maneuvers, are distracted, fail to share the road, subscribe to road rage or are impaired by alcohol and drugs.
Head injuries and fractures
Among the more common injuries faced by bicyclists include:
- Head injuries: This can be an abundant list, including traumatic brain injury, bleeding on the brain, concussions and skull fractures, jaw and orbital fractures.
- Fractures: Besides head-related fractures, a cyclist also may sustain fractures to the arms, hands, wrists, legs, feet, pelvis, spine, ribs and collarbone.
- Dental fractures: Shattered, chipped and broken teeth can lead to months of dental work and surgery. The damaged teeth can injure the gums and cheeks, too.
- Road rash: Such abrasions are painful and may lead to infections.
Some of these injuries may prove fatal and lead to a lifetime of adjustments.
Take precautions, remain alert
As a bicyclist, you must understand that you cannot control the behavior of drivers who share the road with you. Because of this, take the necessary precautions such as wearing a helmet and bright clothing, while always remaining alert any time you ride.