In the last ten years, the number of bicycle crashes have increased almost 50 percent. More bicyclists are on the roads now than ever before. One would think that the higher number of riders would prompt drivers to be more careful and more watchful. Alas, these things haven’t happened.
Bicycle-on-vehicle wrecks also have a much higher fatality rate than vehicle-on-vehicle collisions. During collisions, multiple restraint layers protect vehicle occupants. But bicyclists have no such protection. Largely because of these catastrophic injuries, a Columbus personal injury attorney can usually obtain substantial compensation for bicycle crash victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
The chain of events which leads to a bicycle crash often starts before a tortfeasor (negligent driver) gets behind the wheel. Some common kinds of driver impairment include:
Substance Abuse: One for the road is one too many. Alcohol impairment usually begins with the first drink. Drug impairment usually begins with the first puff or pill. These effects, which include slow reflexes and clouded judgment, may be fun at parties. But they are very dangerous when driving.
Fatigue: Only time cures substance impairment and only sleep cures fatigue. Common shortcuts, like blasting the air conditioner, might help drivers feel more alert for a few minutes, But these shortcuts don’t address the effects of fatigue. These effects are basically the same effects as intoxicated people experience.
Medical Condition: Serious medical conditions, like epilepsy, could cause drivers to suddenly and unexpectedly lose consciousness behind the wheel. Moderate medical conditions, like colds and flus, reduce driving abilities by at least 50 percent.
Driving under the influence of a substance, even if it’s a legal substance, is against the law. So is driving with a serious medical condition. If these tortfeasors cause car wrecks, they could be liable for damages as a matter of law, under Ohio’s negligence per se rule.
Fatigue and driving with a moderate medical condition are not against the law, at least in most cases. So, a Columbus personal injury attorney must use the ordinary negligence doctrine to obtain compensation in these cases.
Speeding is the most common kind of aggressive driving. Excessive velocity, which is a factor in about a third of the fatal collisions in Ohio, increases the risk of a wreck and the force in a collision.
Other kinds of aggressive driving include tailgating, failing to yield the right of way, and turning illegally.
Generally, these aggressive driving behaviors are against the law. However, emergency responders don’t always cite drivers for them, even after a fatal bicycle wreck. When they arrive at accident scenes, emergency responders must tend to injured victims and secure the area. Conducting a traffic investigation and writing a ticket is very far down on the list of priorities.
Bicycle helmets, which are optional for most bicyclists in Ohio, may encourage aggressive driving. Subconsciously, when motorists see bare-headed riders, they think the riders could survive crashes. So, these drivers take more chances. When a 4,000-plus pound car hits a 20-plus pound bicycle, these chances usually cause serious injuries to bicyclists.
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