With the weather warming up, many people are taking to the streets and trails with their bicycles in hopes to enjoy the sun and fresh air. Kansas City is home to several beautiful scenic bike paths, such as the Riverfront Heritage Trails where you can see beautiful views of the Missouri River, or the Swope Park Mountain Bike Trail where nature abounds.
Whether you’re visiting the city for the first time or you live in these parts, there are plenty of bike trails that will give you a fun and beautiful tour of the area. While enjoying the sights, however, it’s important to understand the risk you may be putting yourself in, especially if you are sharing the road with other vehicles. As bicyclists can suffer severe injuries from car accidents, protective gear and attentive bike riding is essential.
How popular is cycling in Kansas City?
Since the pandemic hit, bicycling in urban areas in America has increased by 21 percent, meaning more bikes are on the road that vehicles have to be cautious around. Local bike shops and cycling classes have reported an uptick in their customers and clients, with Christina Decker of Midwest Cyclery stating that, by July 2020, her shop had already surpassed all of the sales it made in 2019.
Another local bike shop here in Kansas City called World Class Bikes had to put people on a waitlist for bike repairs due to a shortage in bicycle parts.
Unfortunately for Kansas City, we also have a history of being an unsafe place for bicyclists. In 2008, BBC One Planet voted Kansas City the least bicycle-friendly city in America due to its poor infrastructure, and while there have been improvements made, the city still has a long way to go. While there might be some decent off-road trails to bike, our actual roads remain dangerous, with no shoulders and streets busy with vehicles.
Children are especially vulnerable to bicycle accidents and injuries, as they may not know how to properly ride their bicycles yet, and they are smaller than the normal cyclist, making them more difficult to see over a truck’s or SUV’s tall hood or grille. The Sports and Fitness Industry Association reports that bicycle accidents are the main source of injuries to children from a consumer product after automobiles.
What are the different types of bicycle accident injuries?
The number of injuries you can sustain while riding a bicycle are numerous, and they often occur when nearby motorists are distracted, drunk, or speeding. They can cause a cyclist serious or catastrophic injuries like:
- Traumatic brain injury. When your head is hit by an object such as the curb of the street, your brain may sustain bruising and abrasions that lead to swelling and bleeding inside of the skull. These sorts of injuries are why wearing a helmet is a necessary piece of equipment for bicyclists. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that in the cases of serious head injuries, helmets reduce those injuries by 60 percent.
- Spinal cord injury. As the spinal cord is the main highway of your nervous system, an injury there can cause the rest of your body to malfunction. When the injury on the spine causes you to lose function and sensation below it, that is a complete spinal cord injury leading to full paralysis. If you still maintain some feeling and function below the site of the injury, then that is an incomplete spinal cord injury, which causes partial paralysis.
- The American Burn Association reports that burn injuries are one of the most common causes of death and unintentional injuries in the United States. Severe burns can lead to skin damage, muscle damage, connective tissue damage, and even nerve damage. These injuries are often extremely painful, and can take many months to heal. Deformities and scars are often left behind, leaving lasting effects on victims emotionally as well as physically.
- Traumatic amputation. When you are out on your bicycle, exposed to the elements and the heavy, metal vehicles around, you put yourself at serious risk. If a car going fast enough hits you while you’re on your bicycle, the force of the impact from sharp, metal edges could lead to a laceration that completely removes your arm or leg. Or if the injury you received from your accident is too severe, the hospital may need to remove the limb because it cannot be saved.
How can I prevent getting into a bicycle accident?
There are several things you can do in order to stay safe on the roads while bicycling. Some actions you can take include:
- Wear a helmet: According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent, and the odds of head, face or neck injury by 33 percent.”.
- Follow the rules of the road: Bicyclists are under the same laws as cars are, and so should abide by them.
- Behave predictably. The drivers you share the road with are less likely to hit you if you are driving with attention and sense.
- Use hand signals. Just as a car needs to use its turning signals, so do cyclists. BikewalkKC has published a video on how they should be used and what they look like.
- Don’t use sidewalks. Bicycles are not allowed on the sidewalks in many parts of the city. When cycling on the road, stay as far to the right curb as possible. If there’s a slower vehicle in front of you, slowly pass on the left. Bells are good for signaling to the driver that you are passing, allowing at least three feet from yourself and the car.
As much as we try to prevent them, accidents do happen, and when they happen because of someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to suffer for it more than you already are. Let us take care of the complicated legal work so you can get compensation for any injuries that you or a loved one have suffered.
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our expert team of lawyers will ensure that you are our top priority. To schedule an appointment, call 816-471-5111 or fill out our contact form. We offer free consultations at our office in Kansas City, MO. We also maintain offices in Lee’s Summit, Parkville, and St. Joseph, MO and in Olathe and Overland Parks, KS.
We know that it can feel as if there’s no end in sight when you’re living with a serious injury. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we’re on your side from day one. We’ll not only fight for your best interests, but we’ll help you process and deal with your injury along the way. Our personal injury lawyers handle the insurance company for you, and make sure that you find the tools and resources you need to move forward. When you need an experienced, compassionate Kansas City personal injury lawyer, we answer the call.