Articles Posted in Bicycle Accident

Bike sharing is taking the entire world by storm. Though the automobile alternative is relatively new to the United States, its history in several European countries dates back more than ten years. The programs work with rental bicycles that are maintained at rental stations throughout the city. Riders swipe a credit card to release the bikes from their locks. They are then charged an hourly rate for the bikes and they can return them to whichever rental station is closest to their destination. Some companies offer monthly subscriptions.

According to a report by Oregon Public Radio (OPR), as bike sharing extends into new cities, the rate of brain related injuries increases. American and Canadian researchers collaborated on a study to review the number of traumatic brain injuries in jurisdictions with bike sharing programs. They analyzed the number of emergency room head injury visits before and after the implementation of bike sharing programs. The study specifically looked at the cities of Washington DC, Minneapolis, Boston, Miami Beach and Montreal. Researchers reportedly documented a 14% increase in brain injury ER visits after bike sharing programs began.
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Early last Friday morning in Chicago, a local man was hit by a vehicle that fled the scene. As the Chicago Tribune reported, the pedestrian was found dead shortly after the accidents. On Sunday a man who had been caught fleeing the scene after hitting an eight-year-old girl in his car was charged with a hit-and-run and held on $75,000 bail. Thankfully, the girl survived the accident but not before suffering a serious brain injury. Another eight year old girl was not so lucky last Wednesday, and died after being hit by an SUV that fled the scene after striking her while biking in front of her house. And yesterday a bicyclist who had been struck in a hit-and-run accident Monday evening died from his serious head injuries.

Hit-and-run car accidents in our nation are rampant. The Better Business Bureau reported the nearly one in eight accidents is a hit-and-run accident, many involving injuries to the head. (BBB)

Compensation & Consequences

We often note how accidents on the roadway are the leading cause of serious traumatic brain injuries among all age groups. TBIs result from significant contact between the head and a hard object. Even seemingly low-speed or minor traffic accidents can produce TBIs because abrupt stops that occur in a traffic accident make it highly likely that the head will make hard contact with some surface.

Most focus on roadway accidents relates to car crashes, but all of the same principles apply to other travelers, including pedestrians and bicyclists. Bike riders in particular have made a few headlines recently as our area has grappled with some tragic Chicago bike accidents that robbed the lives of community members while raising awareness of the need to be vigilant about bicycle safety.

Chicago Bike Tributes

Velo News reported this week on new steps by USA Cycling to develop more effective safety protocols to keep athletes safe in the event of a traumatic brain injury. The move was likely prompted by the flood of attention that has been recently been given to the prevalence and serious consequences of these injuries. In particular, new information about these health concerns have led to increased scrutiny of BMX crashes in the sport.

In order to tackle the concerns USA Cycling has sought out the assistance of leading doctors in the area of head injuries to come up with new protocols to help those who suffered one of these injuries recover. Considering that bicycle accidents occur on our area roadways all the time, our Chicago brain injury lawyers understand that these basic safety efforts are an important reminder to all local bike riders, not just professional athletes.

As blog readers know there are both immediate and long-term consequences of these injuries. For example, one professional cyclist at the Tour de France last year crashed and suffered severe head trauma. In the heat of the competition, the rider got back on his bike and continued on to finish that portion of the race. Afterward he expressed confusion, because he did not even remember crashing. During a hospital trip afterwards the doctor explained that he had suffered a traumatic brain injury and could not continue to the next stage of the race. The cyclist was confused, because he didn’t quite remember much and didn’t understand what happened.

Most traumatic brain injury stories these days focus on two main groups: young athletes and returning military veterans. Spurred by lawsuits, new research, and advocacy efforts, there seems to be a glut of information and awareness of these serious injuries affecting football players, soccer players, hockey players, and service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This spreading of information is a good thing, because the consequences of these injuries in these contexts have gone with little notice for far too long.

However, it is important not to forget those situations that actually cause the most overall traumatic brain injuries for the public at large: accidents on the road. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys know that car, truck, and bicycle accidents are consistently the leading cause of head injuries among all demographics, but particularly for children. Of course, the main way to prevent these injuries is to prevent the accidents. That includes abiding by all of the basic rules of safe driving, including the avoidance of distractions, properly following all street signs, and use of safety equipment like seat belts and child restraints.

In the bicycle accident context, wearing a helmet remains the single most important thing that cyclists can do to avoid more serious harm resulting from a traumatic brain injury. An editorial in the News Press by a self-proclaimed “head case” makes this same point. The author explains that he has suffered four concussions in his life. One of those was caused by a fall from a bike that left him unconscious for about 18 hours.

Warm weather is just around the corner, and with it, plenty of children wanting to take out their bicycles. But before letting their children go for a ride around the neighborhood, parents should take easy precautions to make sure their children stay safe and do not suffer a serious head injury. The Children’s Safety Network notes that 196 children under the age of 15 die each year as a result of bicycle-related brain injuries, about 8,900 are hospitalized, and 344,000 are treated and released from emergency departments.

Prevention starts with simply wearing a bicycle helmet. Although parents report that 85% of children who own bicycle helmets wear them, only about 15% of children aged 14 and younger wear helmets.

The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute also notes that using a bicycle helmet significantly reduces the risk of a serious head injury as well. Wearing a bicycle helmet prevents 52% to 60% of bicycle-related head injury deaths and also prevents 68% to 85% of nonfatal head and scalp injuries. These head injuries can be very severe. Serious head injuries as a result of bicycle accident can include permanent disabilities affecting a child’s ability to work once they become an adult and can also result in life-long medical treatment and expenses.

Collisions involving cars, motorcycles, and bicycles are the contributing factors for half of the United States’ reported brain injuries. According to the article, “the risk of traumatic brain injury is highest in young men ages 15 to 24.” One symptom of someone suffering from a traumatic brain injury is the occurrence of a seizure within the first week after the injury. The article lists several other conditions that may result after the traumatic brain injury, but the most common are short term memory loss and communication problems.

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A young man is still recovering from traumatic brain injury after he crashed his new motorcycle. The young man drove off the road after visiting friends. Since the initial motorcycle accident, his mother states that he has made “little baby steps” but is still unable to speak or walk on his own. He makes some noises but since the brain injury he cannot talk to his family personally. The part of his brain that was damaged is the part that controls facial recognition. The family is still unsure of the amount of progress that he will have with his brain injury. He now has movement of his head and has been following things better with his eyes, but the progress of the brain injury is moving at a very slow pace. To read the full story, click here.

TBI Clubhouses are opening around the nation to help support brain injured victims. Brain injuries can occur for a variety of reasons from participation in contact sports to involvement in a car accident or bike accident. Brain injuries leave some victims unable to function or carry out daily tasks to live on their own. Traumatic Brain Injury homes exist to provide support, a social network and medical care to victims of brain injuries. A mother whose son experienced a brain injury after a truck accident has opened a new Midwest clubhouse to provide support to families who struggle similar to herself. Brain injury bills are high whether due to medical expenses or trial expenses and some foundations help in meeting those costs. To read more about this courageous mother’s story click here.

A brain injury charity recently began an awareness campaign stating that the use of helmets for children reduces the risk of serious and life-changing brain injury by bicycling accidents. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of brain injury by 65-88 percent. Serious brain injury can occur from a bang on the head, even if there is no skull fracture involved.

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