Most Common Bike Accident Injuries
Bike accident injuries are more common than people think. Bicyclists account for 2% of all traffic-related deaths and injuries per year. Of course, injuries can also occur from simply falling off the bike or hitting a curb.
Before we go into the actual bike accident injuries that cyclists need to worry about, let’s learn a little more about the accidents.
Worst Times to Ride a Bike and Age Group Statistics
If you ride a bicycle, you know that you’re at a much higher risk of injury if an accident occurs. A bicycle is no match for a motor vehicle. You’ll be severely injured in some bicycle accidents and escape relatively unscathed in others.
It’s a game of chance for most people.
But there are some cold, hard facts that provide us with information we can use to be safer when riding a bike, such as:
- 20% of deaths occur between 6pm and 9pm
- 71% of deaths occur in urban areas
Males are statistically at a much higher risk of being involved in a bicycle accident. Males account for 88% of all people, age 20 – 24, injured on bicycles.
If you’re wondering about intoxication, it does play a major role in the death of bicyclists. Around 20% of people killed in bicycle crashes have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8 grams per deciliter. This metric is higher than all states in the country allow.
The biggest factor that isn’t talked about is negligence.
A lot of bicyclists do not follow the rules of the road. Cyclists can make the road much safer if they all looked out for each other. It’s a matter of a community effort, which can help save the lives of cyclists.
Simple hand signals can help, or alerting another person of potential dangers ahead.
There has also been a major uptick in the amount of people that cycle to work. Between 2000 and 2012, the amount of people biking to work increased by 64%. People are trying to save money and limit their impact on the environment, yet it does come at a much higher risk of serious, traumatic injuries if an accident does occur.
In 2015, 817 bicyclists were killed by motor vehicle crashes. This figure was up 13% from the year prior and marks the highest number of bike related deaths since 1995.
But while deaths do happen far more often than people hope, injuries are far more common. These injuries can be as simple as scrapes, or they can be traumatic brain injuries that demand the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Most Common Bike Accident Injuries
Bike accident typically cause injury to the upper and lower extremities. The good news is that these acute injuries are often minor, such as:
Road rash occurs often, and this will leave superficial abrasions in many cases. When road rash does occur, it may require debris removal from the skin. If you believe that you might have a broken bone or fracture, this may be seen with the following symptoms:
- Difficulty moving
- Lack of movement
If you do believe that you’ve broken or injured your bone, you’ll need proper imaging to confirm. The only way to know for sure if a bone is broken is through imaging. Do not take the advice of a massage therapist or some other individual that lacks proper training.
There’s a reason that everyone should wear a helmet. Head injuries. Injured bicyclists are at the greatest risk of a head injury, and these injuries occur in 22% – 47% of all injured bicyclists. The problem with head injuries is that they’re very serious.
The majority of long-term disabilities from bike accidents have to deal with head injuries.
And 60% of deaths are caused by head injuries.
The neck isn’t as common of an injury area as many people would think. While neck injuries can and do occur, they’re far less common than head injuries and other injuries. In fact, neck injuries are quite rare in the whole spectrum of bike accidents.
Not all bike accident injuries are traumatic, but the ones that are account for the worst injuries. A person may suffer from overuse injuries, but these are often not serious and do not occur due to accidents.
Instead, traumatic injuries are directly attributed to an accident.
The most common injuries in this category, include:
- Skull fracture
- Cranial hemorrhage
Your musculoskeletal system may also face injuries, and these would include your basic strains (not much of a concern), dislocations and fractures.
You may also suffer from:
- Facial fractures
- Dental fractures
- Rib fractures
- Ruptured spleen
- Pancreatic trauma
- Bowel contusions
- Renal contusions
There is also a risk of being impaled. Some riders will become impaled by their handlebars, which often causes life-threatening injuries. Pelvic fractures and rectal trauma are also major causes for concern.
You can also break or fracture any bone in your body, from your hip to your ankles or femur.
Eye injuries are less common, but they can still occur. A person that is wearing eye protectant may be able to lessen their risk of eye injury while cycling.
Evaluation After a Bike Accident
Even if you’re involved in a minor bike accident, there may be some serious issues that you don’t realize right away. These issues often present themselves days or weeks after the accident.
There are a few things that you can check for following an accident if you don’t feel like something is wrong:
- If you hit your head, it’s a good idea to have it checked out. Head injuries are something that most people ignore, but they’ve very serious. Your brain could be bleeding and you didn’t even know it. Signs of a head injury may include loss of consciousness, confusion, vision changes and a cracked helmet. When your helmet has a crack, this is a good indicator that you’ve been involved in a rather serious accident.
- Breathe. There’s a risk that you broke your ribs or punctured a lung. A lot of people assume there’s nothing that can be done in these cases, so they ignore medical treatment. This is a big no-no. What you should do is contact medical emergency services if you have any trouble breathing. The general rule of thumb is to take a very deep breath. If you feel any pain when breathing in deeply, this demands a visit to the emergency room. A cracked rib, while it may seem minor, can puncture your lung, which is a serious issue.
- Stomach Check. Did you hit the handlebars? If so, this may be cause for concern. If hit hard enough, there are organs and soft tissue in the stomach that can become damaged by the impact. A great test to see if injury occurred is to use your hands and palpate the abdomen. What you want to look for are areas of the stomach that are more sore and tender than others. If your stomach seems hard in one area or distended, this may mean that you have internal bleeding. In the case of internal bleeding, you’ll want to seek medical assistance immediately.
- Spine and Neck. Spine injuries are extremely serious. If you believe you’ve damaged your spine or neck severely, stay still and wait for medical attention to arrive. A few signs of a potential injury to the spine or neck include numbness, tingling, inability to move fingers or toes. If you have issues moving your neck, go to the emergency room immediately. The last thing you want to do is continue to move your neck and risk permanent injury to your spinal cord.
- Bleeding. Bleeding is easy to spot when it’s external, but bleeding can also be internal. You’ll want to check for distended or firm areas to see if there is a potential internal bleeding situation. If you have external bleeding, you’ll want to use basic first aid and apply pressure to the area. Seek medical treatment if you believe that you’ll need stitches or some form of advanced medical treatment.
Of course, move your extremities to determine if a bone is fractured or broken. You’ll often feel a shooting pain if a bone is broken or fractured. You may not be able to move the extremity without pain, or you may not be able to move it at all.
The only way to know for sure what injury you have is to have a medical professional conduct imaging on the area.
Nonsurgical treatments are ideal. These treatments will require you to have a cast or suture. While not ideal, the length of treatment time will vary based on the injury’s severity. Surgical treatments may be needed when you have a fracture, break or a potential organ injury.
Tendon and ligament injuries may also demand a surgical procedure.
Bike accident injuries can be life-changing, and if you’ve been injured in a bike accident, a lawyer may be able to help. Your injuries, if sustained by the negligence of another person or party, demands compensation.
Your injuries may have long-term consequences.
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