OMAHA, Nebraska. According to Outside Online, fatal bike accidents have risen by 35% between 2010 and 2016. While some researchers attribute this to an increase in biking’s popularity, one writer for Outside also aptly noted that distracted driving has also increased during this timeframe. The writer himself noted that in a single hour he counted as many as 37 people looking at their cell phones while driving.
Distracted driving is dangerous. Every year, thousands are killed and as many as 390,000 people are injured due to distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as 660,000 drivers will be on their phones during the day. To make matters worse, the least experienced drivers may be the ones more likely to be distracted. Teens are the largest demographic that admitted to being distracted when an accident took place.
Many bikers are opting to avoid roads for this very reason. While bikers are often very safe and conservative in their actions on the road, drivers might swerve into bike lanes if they are using their phones. Distracted drivers may be less likely to check their blind spots while turning for bikes. Bikes are also harder to see than cars.
Police officers may also be more likely to protect drivers rather than bikers. Unlike other countries where drivers may be automatically blamed for any collision with a bike, in the U.S, perception of bikers may lead to bias on the scene of a crash. For example, bikers might find themselves facing citations for riding without a light or for violating traffic laws. The writer for Outside noted that the police officer at the scene of his accident wanted to cite him for riding without a light when he was riding at a time when it was still legal for him to be riding without one. However, the driver had been driving over the speed limit and had veered into the bike lane. The police officer still wanted to cite the biker and not the driver.
The reality is that in many areas, bikers are not always protected and are not seen as equal road users even though they are required to abide by the laws of the road. So, what can you do if you’ve been in a crash on a bike? First, stay calm. Call the police. Exchange information with the driver, and seek medical attention. Even if you think you are okay, it is still wise to visit the ER. Some injuries, like head injuries, can take some time to become apparent. Other bikers report experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder that makes it difficult for them to enjoy riding on the road.
Finally, fighting for justice after a bike accident can be difficult in a society that doesn’t see bikers as having equal rights to the road. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a bike accident in Omaha, Nebraska, consider speaking to the personal injury lawyers at Rensch & Rensch Law. Our firm can review the details of your case, estimate the value of your damages, and help you seek justice. Visit us today at https://www.renschandrensch.com/ to learn more.