Bike-sharing is now quite common in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, bike-sharing accidents are common too. Some of these accidents are head-on collisions between cyclists and vehicles. It is hard to imagine the trauma of colliding head-on with a vehicle while on a bike.
Sometimes the accidents are fatal. In a recent year, 938 cyclists died in traffic crashes. If you or someone you care about was injured or killed in a head-on collision that wasn’t your fault while riding a bike-share bicycle, the Oklahoma City rent-a-bike accident attorneys of Abel Law Firm could help. Call (405) 239-7046 today for a free consultation.
How Do Bike-Share Head-On Collisions Occur?
Head-on bike-sharing collisions often occur at night when it is harder to see cyclists. Drivers can veer into a cyclist. Or head-on collisions can happen when a cyclist is in traffic and turning. Cyclists are required to follow the rules of the road. Drivers often do not expect cyclists to be on the road and do not look for them. A cyclist can turn in traffic while they have the right of way, and a driver could hit the cyclist without even knowing the cyclist was there.
Bike-Share Head-On Collisions Can Cause Major Injuries
In an impact, a bicyclist does not stand a chance against a motor vehicle. Vehicles weighing thousands of pounds can cause traumatic injuries to cyclists. Bicycles do not have seat belts or airbags, and the cyclist typically absorbs all the energy from the impact into their body. In a head-on collision, the cyclist impacts the front of the vehicle, often hitting the windshield and going over the top of the vehicle, landing on the road behind it, still in danger of injuries from other traffic. Also, when a cyclist loses control, a natural could be to try to protect their body, leaving their head exposed.
Broken bones and head injuries are common in head-on collisions with a vehicle. When a person picks up a bike from a bike-sharing service, they either have to bring their own helmet or not wear one. Many bike-sharing riders choose not to wear a helmet. But bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head and brain injury by between 63 percent to 88 percent. Cities with bike-sharing services, like Oklahoma City, have a higher rate of bicycle-related head injuries than cities without bike-sharing. One study found an increase of 14 percent.
Riding Without a Helmet
Despite the risks, cyclists often bike without a helmet. Cyclists’ failure to wear helmets is one of the reasons that one-third of non-fatal bicycle injuries are head injuries. Emergency rooms in the United States treat approximately 80,000 cycling-related head injuries yearly. Some common head injuries include hematoma, skull fractures, maxillofacial trauma, traumatic brain injuries, and concussions.
- Hematoma occurs when the brain bleeds. Blood will pool or clot in the brain, often causing dangerous swelling or pressure on the brain. This injury can often go unnoticed and not be recognized until significant symptoms occur. By the time these symptoms occur, permanent damage has often already occurred. Getting possible hematomas diagnosed is one of the reasons it is essential to seek medical treatment after any head-on bike-share collision, even if you initially feel fine.
- Skull fractures and maxillofacial traumas are broken bones in the head. The skull can break, forming cracks or even chips, sometimes deflecting inward upon the brain. Skull fractures often cause a hematoma, and the combined pressure on the brain of blood and bone fragments can be deadly. Maxillofacial traumas are broken bones in one’s face, such as a jaw or cheekbone. Broken facial bones can often cause permanent scarring or disfigurement, and the negligent driver should be responsible for compensating the cyclist.
- Concussions are a mild form of traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury is any head injury in which the brain is traumatized, often by blunt force or severe shaking. A traumatic brain injury can occur even without an impact. This type of injury can cause cognitive or physical problems.
What Are Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
If you have been in a head-on bike-share accident, seek medical attention and pay attention to potential brain injury symptoms. Traumatic brain injuries can be dangerous because symptoms can often be minimized, overlooked, or sometimes take a while to appear. These late-arriving symptoms might be brushed aside because the injured person thinks they’re from an unrelated cause, like fatigue.
Traumatic brain injury symptoms can include forgetfulness, speech problems, comprehension problems, confusion, disorientation, or impaired consciousness. Symptoms can even include personality changes and emotional disturbances that can last for a long time.
Traumatic brain injuries can cause changes in the way a person thinks. A person with a traumatic brain injury may have difficulty reading and writing or comprehending concepts and problem-solving. That person might also experience memory loss, such as forgetting where they’re going or having lapses in remembered time while performing tasks.
Physical symptoms of traumatic brain injuries can include changes to sleep patterns (more or less tired than usual), headaches, nightmares, neck and jaw pain, or difficulty eating. Those injuries can also affect a person emotionally, causing mood swings, fear, or anxiety.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured in a Head-On Bike-Sharing Collision?
If a head-on bike-sharing collision injures you, the first thing to do is seek medical attention. It is essential to seek an immediate medical evaluation, even if you feel fine. Some head injuries, such as brain bleeds, may be asymptomatic for a time, even though the damage occurs quickly. Neck and back injuries can also take time to appear.
After you have obtained medical care, it is time to seek legal advice. Especially if your injuries are traumatic and life-changing and the accident wasn’t your fault, you need experienced legal help to get the compensation you need to recover and move forward with your life. At Abel Law Firm, we have handled traumatic cycling injuries and know how to help you pursue the compensation you need. Contact Abel Law Firm today at (405) 239-7046 and let our attorneys help you hold the negligent party responsible. We want to help you protect your rights and get the money you deserve.