When people think about devastating cycling accidents, they imagine the worst:
- A mangled bike, all bent steel, and twisted wheels
- A cyclist with clearly broken bones, lying in the street
- Cars skidding to a halt all around the accident scene
- Police officers telling everyone to back away so that they can do CPR
Of course, these types of accidents do happen. But it's important not to assume that an accident that looks less drastic is actually minor. It could still have serious, life-long ramifications for the cyclist, especially if it involves a head injury or a traumatic brain injury.
Even with a helmet
That's exactly what happened to one man when he was riding a $10,000 bicycle at about 25 miles per hour. He was experienced, invested and well-trained. This wasn't just a hobby for him. It was a way of life.
Even he couldn't avoid an accident, though, when a pair of drivers turned left in front of his bike, apparently not seeing him or not understanding that the green light actually gave him the right of way. He smashed into the second car and flew off of the bike.
It wasn't a scene that looked traumatic, like the example used above. "I had very little road rash," the man said. "But I hit my head."
Even with a helmet, a head injury is significant. People can experience dizziness, mood swings, memory loss and even the loss of physical and mental abilities. A serious brain injury may never completely heal. Yes, a helmet helps, but there's no contest when it's a car vs. a bike. The cyclist loses every time, and a helmet can't prevent all injuries.
Can cycling continue?
When people see news stories about these accidents, they often feel too frightened to ride any longer. They start to think of a bike as something that you just use at the gym, not a legitimate means of transportation. It's an unfortunate shift that forces people to alter their lifestyles.
"I tell people, ‘I know you're afraid of the risk, but cycling isn't just for training. It's about going to the store and to work,' " one safety expert noted. "But it's difficult to talk riders off the bike paths when all they see is coverage of people getting creamed."
One has to wonder if cyclists can even persist in the face of this sort of negative press. If drivers do not take more care and keep cyclists safe, will we see the end of cycling as we know it?
If you do get injured in an accident with a car, the costs soar quickly. Make sure you know if you have a right to financial compensation.