Bicycle Accidents And Head Injuries In Sarasota
Sarasota is a beautiful place to ride a bike. The topography is perfect for riding, the weather is great, but is it safe? Since the 1970’s, Florida has ranked as one of the most dangerous states in the US to be a bicyclist. As a matter of fact, 2017 saw 783 fatal bicycle accidents with automobiles according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In the state of Florida, Sarasota ranks in the top 5 riskiest areas for riding your bike.
Where And When Do These Bicycle Accidents Happen?
For those who haven’t had a close call, it can be tough to see just where all the risk lies. Looking at NHTSA data, we can see:
• 75% of fatal bicycle accidents occur in populated areas compared to rural areas.
• Only 27% of fatal bicycle accidents occur at intersections.
• Slightly more bicycle accidents occur during the daytime with 48% than those that happen at night with 47%. 5% of bicycle accidents occur at dawn or dusk.
• The average age of bicyclists involved in fatal accidents with automobiles is 47 years old.
• Children under the age of 15 only accounts for around 7% of all bicycle accidents in Florida.
• Alcohol is involved in 37% of fatal bicyclist accidents, either by the bicyclist or the driver of a motor vehicle.
• 96% of bicycle accidents in Florida involve one single vehicle.
• 44% of fatal bicycle accidents involve light trucks, and in 88% of these accidents the bicyclist is struck by the front of the vehicle.
Bicycle Accidents And Traumatic Brain Injuries
Wearing a helmet can be a lifesaver for bicyclists. About 7% of all traumatic brain injuries that occur in the United States each year are related to bicycle accidents, and in more than half of fatal accidents, the rider was not wearing a helmet. In the state of Florida, helmets are optional for adults, with helmet laws only covering those under the age of 16.
In cases of helmeted bicyclists, having a helmet on can give a false sense of security. While a helmet does adequately protect the head, it’s not a failsafe option when a collision with a motorist occurs. Bicycle helmets can break due to strong impacts, leading to traumatic brain injuries, many of which can be severe or even fatal.
For those who do not wear a helmet, the head has no protection against impact. In instances such as these, even “lighter” collisions can prove to have severe consequences. The safest thing a Sarasota area bicyclist can do is to wear their helmet, ride on safe roads, pay close attention to the roadway and nearby motorists, and to ride with caution.
Signs Of Traumatic Brain Injury After A Bicycle Accident
Particularly for those who are wearing helmets, it’s not always easy to see if one has suffered a traumatic brain injury straight away. A common misconception is that bicyclists with a head injury after a collision will experience a loss of consciousness, dizziness, or other symptoms immediately. Traumatic brain injuries can be tricky, and mild or moderate brain injuries may not show any symptoms for hours to days after an accident has occurred. Some later signs that a head injury may be present are dizziness, headaches, nausea, fatigue, changes in mood or behavior, forgetfulness, or ringing in the ears.
For bicyclists who have been in an accident with a motorist, it’s important to accept medical assistance at the scene of the accident even if you don’t believe your injuries are severe enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. A full evaluation will be able to determine if invisible injuries are present, and increase your chances of receiving compensation after the accident has occurred.