Bicycle Deaths: It’s No Longer Mostly Children

December 22, 2023 / Wrongful Death

Bicycles, once synonymous with carefree childhood adventures, have become integral to adult life. Bicycle accidents were often seen as unfortunate yet commonplace misadventures, usually involving scraped knees and tales of daring escapades. As the wheels of time turn, so too does the narrative surrounding bicycle-related fatalities.

What was once predominantly a concern for children learning to navigate their bikes close to home now impacts adults at an alarming rate. In recent years, there has been a notable shift in the demographics of bicycle-related fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2021, there were 966 cyclist fatalities, and the average age of the cyclist killed was 49. The National Library of Medicine also reported that hospital admissions and fatalities increased in the older age groups.

As more adults take to the roads on two wheels, the dynamics of bicycle-related fatalities have shifted in tandem with this demographic evolution. What was once considered a relatively safe and carefree activity now demands a heightened awareness of the risks posed by an increasingly complex traffic landscape.

The evolving face of bicycle deaths paints a complex picture that demands a closer examination of the factors contributing to this shift and a comprehensive reevaluation of road safety measures for cyclists of all ages.

The Shift in Bicycle Fatalities

While bicycles offer a sustainable and health-conscious mode of transportation, they are inherently more vulnerable on the road than motorized vehicles. For many years, bicycle fatalities were predominantly associated with children, who were often the victims of accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles. This was due, in part, to the inexperience and vulnerability of young riders. However, the landscape of bicycle accidents in Indianapolis is changing.

Adults now account for a growing proportion of bicycle accident fatalities. This shift can be ascribed to various factors, including the increasing popularity of cycling as a form of exercise and commuting and the prevalence of urban cycling. As more adults take to the streets on their bicycles, the risk of accidents involving motor vehicles has risen significantly.

Even with proper safety precautions, cyclists are at greater risk when sharing the road with cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Factors such as distracted driving, speeding, and failure to yield to cyclists can lead to catastrophic consequences.

Key Factors Contributing to Adult Bicycle Fatalities

  1. Distracted Driving: With the increased use of smartphones, distracted driving has become a major concern. Motorists who engage in activities like texting or using social media while driving are more likely to overlook cyclists, leading to serious accidents.
  2. Urban Infrastructure: In densely populated urban areas like Indianapolis, cyclists sharing the road with heavy traffic can lead to dangerous situations. Poorly designed or maintained cycling infrastructure can further increase the risk of accidents.
  3. Lack of Protective Gear: While children are often required to wear helmets when riding their bicycles, many adults neglect this safety measure. The absence of protective gear can have fatal consequences in a collision with a motor vehicle.
  4. Inexperienced or Reckless Cycling: Some adult cyclists may not have the same experience or training as others. Inexperienced cyclists, or those who engage in reckless behavior, may not anticipate potential dangers on the road, increasing their risk of accidents.
  5. Road Conditions and Hazards: Poorly maintained roads, uneven surfaces, and hazards like potholes or debris can pose significant dangers to cyclists. These conditions can lead to loss of control and accidents, especially at higher speeds.
  6. Impaired Driving: The use of alcohol and drugs significantly impairs a person’s judgment, coordination, and reaction time. This makes both cyclists and motorists more susceptible to accidents. Impaired driving remains a major contributor to accidents on the road.
  7. Lack of Visibility: Cyclists can be harder to spot on the road, especially in low-light conditions or when not wearing reflective clothing. Without proper visibility, cyclists are at a higher risk of being involved in accidents with motor vehicles.

Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident

Following a bicycle accident, taking specific steps to protect your well-being and legal rights is important. Here are the essential steps to consider:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: The safety and health of all parties involved should be the top priority. Even if your injuries appear minor, getting immediate medical attention is crucial. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately, so a medical evaluation is essential to rule out hidden injuries.
  2. Contact the Police: Call the police and report the accident. Be sure to provide them with all the relevant details about the accident. The police report will be essential evidence in any potential legal claim.
  3. Exchange Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the parties involved in the accident. This information should include names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance policy details.
  4. Gather Evidence: Document the accident scene if it is safe. Take photographs of the bicycle, vehicle(s) involved, visible injuries, road conditions, traffic signs/signals, and other relevant factors. This photographic evidence can be valuable for your case.
  5. Collect Witness Information: If there were witnesses to the accident, obtain their contact information. Witness testimonies can provide independent accounts of what happened and may be essential in proving liability.
  6. Avoid Admitting Fault: Be careful with your words. Do not admit fault or apologize, even if you believe you may have contributed to the accident. Determining fault is a complex legal matter best left to the professionals.
  7. Consult an Attorney: Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Stephenson Rife to discuss your case. An attorney can provide legal guidance, assess the circumstances, and help you understand your rights and potential claims.

Contact our team of experienced personal injury attorneys to find out more about the legal guidance we offer. Call us at (317) 680-2501.

What Compensation Is Available After a Bicycle Accident?

After a bicycle accident, victims may be eligible for different types of compensation to help them recover from their injuries and losses. The specific compensation available can depend on the accident’s circumstances, the injuries’ severity, and liability factors. Here are some common forms of compensation that may be available:

  1. Medical Expenses: This includes compensation for all medical costs related to the accident. This includes doctor’s visits, hospital bills, surgery, medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
  2. Lost Income: If the accident causes you to miss work, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. This can cover both current and future lost earnings if your injuries prevent you from working in the same capacity as before.
  3. Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages, such as loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and physical pain, can also be compensated. Determining non-economic damages can be complex and may require expert testimony.
  4. Disability and Disfigurement: If the accident results in permanent disability or disfigurement, you may be entitled to compensation for the long-term impact and earning capacity.
  5. Wrongful Death: In the tragic event that a bicycle accident leads to a wrongful death, the family of the deceased may seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional distress caused by the loss.

It’s important to note that Indiana operates under a modified comparative fault system. Your compensation may be reduced proportionally if you were partially at fault for the accident. In Indiana, if you are found to be 51% or more at fault, you may be barred from recovering damages. You have a limited window of two years from the bicycle accident date to initiate a personal injury lawsuit. After these two years, it becomes increasingly unlikely for the court to entertain the case.

How Stephenson Rife Can Help You After Your Bicycle Accident

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident in Indianapolis, it is crucial to seek legal representation promptly. At Stephenson Rife, our experienced personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping victims of bicycle accidents receive the compensation they deserve. We understand adult cyclists and their families’ unique challenges after a serious accident.

Our legal team will work tirelessly to

  1. Thorough Investigation: Our legal team will investigate your bicycle accident’s circumstances thoroughly. This includes gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and examining police reports to establish liability. We aim to build a strong case in your favor.
  2. Determining the Full Extent of Injuries: Bicycle accidents can result in different injuries, from minor to severe. We will partner with medical experts to evaluate your injuries and their long-term impact on your life. This is crucial in determining the appropriate compensation you are entitled to.
  3. Negotiating with Insurance Companies: We will handle all communication and negotiations with insurance companies. We aim to secure a fair settlement that covers medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages you may have suffered.
  4. Litigation if Necessary: We are prepared to take your case to court if negotiations with insurance companies do not result in a satisfactory settlement. Our experienced trial attorneys will advocate for your rights in the courtroom, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact Stephenson Rife for Legal Representation Today

As the nature of bicycle accidents continues evolving, cyclists and motorists must be aware of the changing landscape. If you or a loved one has been affected by a bicycle accident, contact the Stephenson Rife. Contact us at (317) 680-2501 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case and provide guidance on the best course of action.

Attorney Brady Rife

Attorney Brady RifeBrady Rife has developed a diverse civil litigation practice for plaintiffs throughout Indiana. Brady is heavily involved in serious personal injury matters, complex business and commercial disputes, and insurance litigation in state and federal courts. Brady has successfully tried several jury trials and bench trials as lead counsel and has also briefed multiple cases before the Indiana Court of Appeals. [ Attorney Bio ]

Featured Posts

  • Who Is Entitled to Wrongful Death Benefits?
    In Wrongful Death
    Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is an incredibly painful experience. In such tragic circumstances, understanding your legal rights is essential. Wrongful death benefits can provide financial relief for surviving family members, but it’s crucial to know who is entitled to these benefits under Indiana law. The recoverable damages in a wrongful death lawsuit hinge on the age of the deceased and their […]
  • Is There a Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death Suit?
    In Wrongful Death
    Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is a devastating experience. Families often seek legal recourse by filing a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the responsible parties accountable. In such cases, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek justice and compensation for your loss. However, it’s crucial to understand the legal framework surrounding wrongful death claims, including the statute of […]
  • Car Accident Settlement IndianaHow Much Can I Get for a Car Accident Settlement?
    In Vehicle Accidents
    Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, and it often comes with physical, emotional, and financial consequences. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Indianapolis, you may be wondering how much compensation you can receive through a settlement. The value of a settlement is influenced by various factors, primarily revolving around the facts of the case, applicable laws, and the quality of the […]