Bicycle Accidents

Walk through the streets of Philadelphia on any given day, and you’ll be sure to see many bicyclists. Some might be on their way to work, others making deliveries, and others biking for exercise or recreation. According to statistics from, 1.9% of Philadelphia’s population, or 12,281 people commute to work by bike. This makes Philadelphia the thirteenth city in terms of percentage of bikers commuting to work. The number of people biking to work has increased 123.3% from 2000 to 2014.

Additionally, Philadelphia now has a citywide bike share program – Indego. With 73 stations between Tasker and Girard Avenues, and from Front to 44th Street, Indego has over 600 bicycles in circulation on any given day. Tourists have the option of paying $4 for a 30 minute rental, while more frequent users can pay $15 monthly for unlimited rides.

Regrettably, when bicyclists and motor vehicles share the road, accidents are bound to happen. Thankfully, although the number of bicyclists has increased, the number of accidents has actually decreased. This can be attributed to bike lanes and increased awareness of cyclists. In 1998 there were 1,058 crashes reported in Philadelphia. In 2014 that number was nearly cut in half to 551.

Four of the top 5 intersections for bike accidents were on Broad Street. The following were reported crashes between 2007 and 2012:

  1. Broad and Spruce - 10 crashes
  2. Broad and Pine - 9 crashes
  3. Broad and Spring Garden - 9 crashes
  4. 34th and Spruce - 8 crashes
  5. Broad and Washington - 7 crashes

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, most bicycle mishaps are not due to the fault of the rider. If you thought that you are not covered by auto insurance because you are on a bicycle, you are not alone. However this is a common mistaken belief, and you are actually covered by the driver’s and your own auto insurance. Which policy covers you is slightly complicated, but we will explain the details to you during your initial consultation.

What might come as a surprise, you actually do not have to be hit by a car for there to be liability on the drivers part. For example if a driver suddenly and negligently swerves into your lane, and you in turn have to swerve or stop short, and fall off your bike the driver may be liable for your fall.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Code, actually provides rules for drivers which they must follow in regards to bicyclists they are sharing the road with. “Every person riding a pedalcycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.” –PennDOT Vehicle Code 3501 (a). In addition 75 Pa.C.S. § 3303 provides that vehicles should leave a 4 foot cushion when passing a bicycle to the left.

Since bicyclists usually only have helmets as protection, the rest of their unprotected body is extremely vulnerable if they are hit or fall off their bike. In turn the injuries bicyclists suffer can be very severe, and even fatal.

Common Types of Bicyclists Injuires:

  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal chord injuries
  • Cuts, lacerations, and road rash
  • Paralysis
Automobile Insurance and Your Claim

As long as the driver who hit you has auto insurance you will be able to recover damages for your accident. Unlike car on car accidents, whether the driver has full or limited tort coverage does not make a difference on what you can recover. In bicycle accidents, the coverage is automatically deemed to be full tort even if the driver only has limited tort coverage. This will allow you to recover for medical expenses, pain and suffering,

What To Do After a Bike Crash?

Many bicyclists wrongly believe that they should not call the police after being involved in a bike crash. This is absolutely incorrect, and it is imperative to your case to call the police and file an incident report after your crash. In addition, if you are hurt do not turn down medical assistance. It is better to be precautious and receive medical attention by paramedics or an emergency room, as often times the adrenaline that immediately follows an accident can mask some of the

As bicyclists ourselves, we understand the perils bicyclists face on the road. Contact Shaw Law as soon as possible to help us get a maximum recovery for your injuries.