Bicycling can be an enjoyable form of recreation, an environmentally-conscious alternative to traveling by car and a practical means of getting around many cities and neighborhoods, but it is anything but risk-free. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 800 bicyclists were killed and another half a million were sent to the emergency room with injuries in 2010.
While many bike accidents involve larger motor vehicles, some are caused by road hazards that wouldn’t greatly affect a car but can pose especially dangerous risks to bicyclists. Some of the most dangerous hazards for bicyclists include potholes, railroad tracks and sewer grates. While many of these would be annoying at worst to motorists, they can be deadly to bikers.
Potholes are generally caused by general wear and tear or by inadequate repair work, and the risk to bicyclists is approximately the same as to cars, in kind if not in degree. But the risk posed by railroad tracks and sewer grates is usually a design flaw. In both cases, a bike tire can easily get stuck, either between a railroad tie and the surface of the road or between the bars of a sewer grate. In any of these situations, an injured bicyclist can argue that they have a right to a safe roadway. Just as motorists should be protected from hazards, they should as well.
In all cases involving bicyclists injured due to road conditions, it is necessary to prove that the government agency responsible for maintaining the roads acted negligently in failing to make necessary repairs or modifications. This typically means that the agency was aware of the problem and failed to correct it in a timely fashion, or they were unaware of the problem because they weren’t keeping adequate tabs on road conditions.
If you have suffered a serious injury due to hazardous road conditions while biking, contact a Manatee County bicycle accident attorney with experience handling these types of injury claims. The team at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh in Bradenton has the skill and knowledge you need during a difficult time.