Bicycling is not only a fun and healthy activity but also an environmentally friendly way to get around. However, with the increasing number of bicycles on Minnesota’s roads, the likelihood of accidents has risen.
Nelson Personal Injury, LLC is committed to representing those injured in bicycle accidents and fighting for the compensation they deserve.
You have legal rights if you have sustained an injury while riding a bicycle due to someone else’s negligence or fault. Contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
Minnesota Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 717 reported bicycle crashes in 2020 resulted in 8 fatalities and 690 injuries. Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Minnesota ranked 16th in the nation for bicycle fatalities per million population between 2015 and 2019.
These statistics highlight the importance of taking bicycle safety seriously and being aware of the laws to protect bicyclists.
Laws Protecting Bicyclists in Minnesota
In Minnesota, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other users of the road. The state has implemented several laws to ensure the safety of bicyclists:
- Minnesota Statute 169.222: This statute outlines the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists, including the requirement to follow traffic signals, ride with the flow of traffic, and use hand signals when turning.
- Minnesota Statute 169.18: This law requires motorists to maintain a minimum distance of three feet when passing bicyclists.
- Minnesota Statute 169.34: This statute prohibits motorists from parking in bike lanes, ensuring they remain clear for bicyclists.
Laws Bicyclists Must Follow in Minnesota
In addition to the protections provided by Minnesota law, bicyclists are also required to follow specific rules:
- Minnesota Statute 169.222, Subdivision 4: Bicyclists must use a white headlamp and a red rear reflector when riding at night.
- Minnesota Statute 169.222, Subdivision 6: Bicyclists under 18 must wear helmets.
- Local ordinances: Bicyclists should be aware of any local ordinances that may apply in their specific city or county.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can occur for various reasons, with some of the most common causes being:
Negligence of drivers of motor vehicles is one of the leading causes of bicycle accidents. Motorist negligence includes, but is not limited to, distracted driving, failing to yield the right-of-way, speeding, or not maintaining a safe distance from bicyclists. These careless actions can lead to severe accidents, causing significant injuries or fatalities for cyclists.
Poor Road Conditions
Cracked pavement, potholes, debris, or inadequate signage can result in bicycle accidents. Poorly maintained roads pose a significant risk to cyclists, making navigating and avoiding potential hazards difficult.
Bicyclist errors, such as disregarding traffic laws, riding against traffic, or not using proper safety equipment, can contribute to accidents. By following the rules of the road and using appropriate gear, cyclists can minimize the risk of bicycle accidents.
Miscommunication or misunderstandings between motorists and bicyclists at intersections can lead to collisions. Proper signaling, awareness, and following traffic rules are crucial to avoid these accidents and ensure a safe cycling experience.
Dooring accidents occur when a motorist opens their car door into the path of a bicyclist, causing a collision between the door and the bicycle. These accidents can result in severe injuries, and awareness from both motorists and cyclists is vital to prevent such incidents.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
The injuries sustained in a bicycle accident can range from minor to severe or even fatal. Some common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can occur if a cyclist is not wearing a helmet and suffers an impact to their head during an accident.
- Broken bones and other orthopedic injuries: Collisions with vehicles or falls can result in fractures of the arms, legs, or other bones, as well as other orthopedic injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries: Accidents can lead to spinal cord damage, potentially resulting in paralysis.
- Road rash: Abrasions from sliding on pavement can be painful and require extensive treatment.
- Soft tissue injuries: This includes sprains, strains, and tears of muscles, tendons, or ligaments.
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, it is crucial to take the following steps to protect your rights:
Call 911: Immediately After an Accident
Calling 911 is crucial after a bicycle accident. Reporting the incident ensures that emergency services, including emergency medical personnel and law enforcement, are dispatched to the scene. A police report will provide an official account of the accident, as well as the contact information of any witnesses, which can be valuable evidence in pursuing a personal injury claim.
Gather Information: Document the Accident Scene
Collecting information at the accident scene is essential. Exchange contact and insurance information with other involved parties. Take photos of the area of the accident scene, including vehicle positions, traffic control signals, road conditions, and damage to your bicycle. This evidence can strengthen your case later on when dealing with the insurance companies.
Get Witness Information: Corroborate Your Account
If witnesses are present, obtain their contact information. Witness testimony can provide an independent, objective account of what happened, corroborate your account of events, and help establish liability in your personal injury claim if liability is later disputed.
Seek Medical Attention: Prioritize Your Health
Seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident, even if injuries seem minor. Delaying treatment may worsen your condition and affect your claim. Medical records documenting your injuries are crucial in demonstrating the severity and cause of your injuries.
Keep Records: Maintain Thorough Documentation
Retain all documentation of the accident, including medical bills, bicycle repair receipts, and lost wage records. This information will help establish the financial impact of the accident, which is necessary when pursuing compensation for your damages.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer: Secure Expert Legal Assistance
Consulting with an experienced Minnesota bicycle accident lawyer is vital to protect your rights and navigate the complex legal process. An experienced personal injury attorney will evaluate your case, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, represent you in court to secure the compensation you deserve.
How Nelson Personal Injury, LLC Can Help
At Nelson Personal Injury, LLC, our dedicated team of Minnesota bicycle accident lawyers understands the unique challenges that injured bicyclists face. We are committed to providing personalized, compassionate legal representation to help you navigate the complexities of your case and secure the compensation you deserve.
Our services include:
- Thorough case evaluation: We will evaluate your case and determine the best course of action to pursue compensation for your injuries.
- Evidence gathering: Our team will gather all necessary evidence to build a strong case, including witness statements, photographs, and expert testimony.
- Negotiation with insurance companies: We will handle all communications and negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring you receive a fair settlement.
- Litigation: If necessary, our experienced trial attorneys will take your case to court and fight for the compensation you deserve.
- Support throughout the process: We will be there for you every step of the way, providing guidance and answering any questions you may have.
Contact Our Minnesota Bicycle Accident Lawyer for Assistance
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in Minnesota, it is crucial to seek the help of an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.
At Nelson Personal Injury, LLC, we are committed to fighting for the rights of injured bicyclists and ensuring they receive the compensation they deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you on the road to recovery.