The League of American Bicyclists has ranked North Carolina in the 23rd position on their list of states ranked for the safety and rideability for bicyclists. North Carolina certainly doesn’t lead the list, though the state has taken many measures in an effort to improve the safety of bicyclists in areas like Spartanburg, SC. Bicyclists are at a greater risk of injury when accidents occur, and more likely to have broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.
It’s important to be safe when riding a bicycle in North Carolina. Some things that you can do to protect yourself include riding at a safe speed to control your bike and be able to react quickly to hazards, avoid distractions like music and conversations, and use hand signals correctly. You should also be highly aware of your surroundings, look both ways before crossing an intersection, ride with the direction of traffic, go single file when riding with others, use designated bike lanes where available, and take measures to improve visibility in the dark (reflective clothing, headlights).
When car accidents do occur involving bicyclists, they can be caused by vehicles pulling out of side streets or parking lots, leaving little room for you to react, vehicles turning directly into your path (typically at stop lights or intersections), being rear-ended by a vehicle following you too closely, or by a parked car opening a door that happens to be in your path.
Seeking Compensation for Bicycle Accident Injuries
Any injured bicyclist can seek compensation from the insurance company of the at-fault driver in North Carolina. You can recover your medical expenses, lost wages, lost future earning potential, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
If the behavior of the at-fault driver was particularly reckless or harmful, you can even seek out punitive damages, intended to punish the at-fault driver. This is especially true in drunk driving cases. To seek compensation for your injuries and losses, you should begin by contacting 911, seeking medical attention, and gathering the contact information of drivers and witnesses. You should then document your medical treatment and expenses in an organized file, speak with law enforcement, avoid admitting to any fault or wrongdoing, and avoid giving a statement to the insurance company without first speaking to an attorney.