Bicycle Accident Injury Attorney In St. Louis
Avoiding traffic, reducing emissions, and staying healthy are only some of the many benefits associated with cycling down busy St. Louis thoroughfares like Kingshighway or Hampton, or bustling neighborhoods like the Central West End or University City Loop.
Unfortunately, many Metro East and St. Louis drivers don’t respect cyclists. Distraction, intoxication, and turning mistakes frequently lead to life-altering bicycle accidents in St. Louis. Additional factors, including damaged city bikes, poor street lighting, sideway obstructions, and roadway debris, also contribute to devastating cyclist injuries.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can happen for a number of reasons, but they are most often the result of negligence. When drivers, other cyclists, or even pedestrians are careless, distracted, or negligent, they can cause serious accidents that result in devastating consequences.
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in and around the St. Louis area include:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Following too closely
- Passing too closely
- Drunk driving
- Texting while driving
- Road rage
- Unsafe merging
- Failure to obey traffic devices
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Failure to see the bicycle (keep a safe lookout)
In addition, many bicycle crashes are caused by road conditions that do not affect most cars, trucks, or buses. Improperly maintained roadways pose a threat to bicyclists.
Holding Negligent Drivers and Pedestrians Liable for St. Louis Bicycle Accidents
Personal injury litigators with a detailed understanding of multi-state bicycle regulations may help injured cyclists obtain accelerated settlements under negligence per se laws. This legal principle provides for automatic liability determinations if traffic violations caused the bicycle accident. For example, simply showing that an unlawfully parked delivery van blocked the bike lane, violating Mo. Stat. § 300.330, and caused the crash can result in a summary judgment or quick insurance settlements.
Attorneys may also pursue claims under general negligence theories. These cases frequently involve accidents occurring due to poor lighting, daydreaming, or vehicle blind spots. In rare cases, experienced bicycle accident lawyers might sue dangerous drivers for gross negligence (recklessness) resulting in injuries.
These claims often arise when drivers run cyclists off the road, clip riders while speeding, then flee, harass slower-moving cyclists, or cause drunk driving accidents. Reckless driving judgments may result in punitive (exemplary) damage awards and criminal liability.
Types of City Bicycle Accidents Resulting in Serious Injuries
Falls (General, Emergency, or Impact-Related)
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), falls—whether due to broken chains, uneven pavement, or sudden hazards—are the most common bike accidents. However, they are not the most serious. Falls frequently result in relatively minor injuries, such as road rash, fractured wrists, and shoulder strains, because cyclists only travel between 10 and 20 miles per hour.
Sudden falls may hurt, but they seldom result in long-term disabilities or bicycle accident fatalities. Bicycle accident lawyers in St. Louis may help injured cyclists obtain damages if negligent third parties caused or contributed to serious falls.
- Holding bicycle manufacturers liable for faulty parts (products liability).
- Suing municipal agents for dangerous roadway designs (premises liability).
- Holding pedestrians accountable for obstructing bicycle lanes (negligence).
Car crashes are the second main cause of bicycle accidents and the leading cause of serious cycling injuries in the United States. This is especially true in urban areas such as St. Louis, as nearly 80 percent of annual cyclist deaths occur in cities.
Lawmakers passed many of the city’s bicycle laws in response to the following common bicycle-vehicle crashes:
- Crossing Over/Turning Accidents – Drivers seldom check bicycle lanes before making right or left turns over designated bike paths. They see the green light or arrow and immediately start turning without checking for cyclists. Because turning drivers, not cyclists, must yield the right of way, these accidents often result in T-bone collisions. Drivers may hit cyclists on their sides, causing them to fall over the vehicles’ hood or onto the pavement. Cyclists might also smash directly into the vehicle, causing facial and chest damage.
- Dangerous Passing (Sideswipe) Collisions – Speeding vehicles often create airstreams that can force cyclists into the pavement without directly impacting the rider. Likewise, drivers traveling too close to bicycles may swipe them with their side mirrors. The force of these collisions, however slight, can result in fractures and serious run-over accidents.
- Run Overs – Drivers must keep a safe distance—both horizontally and vertically – between themselves and cyclists to avoid sideswipes and account for sudden falls. Oftentimes, cyclists suffer greater injuries from second vehicles that run over fallen riders after they were struck by moving vehicles. These are often fatal bicycle accidents in St. Louis.
- Read-Ended Crashes – Traditional fender-benders result in whiplash and minor vehicle damage but rear-end accidents involving bicycles often result in devastating head injuries and fractures. These sudden crashes may propel St. Louis cyclists into another vehicle or roadway while simultaneously causing brain and spinal trauma.
- Failure to Obey Traffic Control Devices/Yield – Although cyclists have the same rights as drivers, vehicle operators often mistakenly believe they always have the right of way. This can result in head-on collisions with cyclists, often resulting in fatal traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, and neck trauma.
- Reckless and Drunk Driving – Drunk and uncaring drivers frequently swerve between lanes, including bike lanes. They also commonly force other vehicles off the road and into cyclists. Drunk and drugged driving crashes often result in life-altering and fatal injuries. Unfortunately, fatigued driving mirrors the symptoms of drunk driving and can result in similar accidents. Most fatal bicycle accidents occur during happy hour and after work, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Cyclists may generally recover damages from the negligent driver and/or vehicle owner’s auto insurance policy. They might also demand compensation from the driver’s employer, such as a delivery service or Uber if on-duty employees caused the St. Louis bicycle crash. Multiple drivers may also share liability for cycling accidents, as many crashes involve primary and secondary impacts.
Some cyclists (and even their household members) might obtain damages from their personal auto insurers, if any, as most underinsured/uninsured and hit-and-run policies cover bicycle crashes. Dedicated St. Louis and Metro East bicycle accident lawyers might help injured cyclists or their families maximize the value of their damages and recover needed financial compensation following St. Louis cycling injuries.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
In 2018, more than 45,000 cyclists were injured in bicycle accidents, and more than 700 bicyclists were killed in 2017. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in Missouri alone, there were eight bicycle fatalities in 2016.
While bicycle accidents aren’t always caused by negligent drivers, the vast majority are. Additionally, most bicycle accidents involve more than one type of negligence, such as speeding and distracted driving.
According to Missouri bicycle injury claim reports, the most commonly sustained injuries in bike accidents include:
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
If you were injured in a bike accident in Missouri and aren’t sure what to do next, it’s essential to stay calm, get treatment for your injuries, and discuss the situation as soon as possible with a St. Louis bicycle accident lawyer.
Many serious cycling injuries result in disabilities and have fatal complications. Helmets may prevent severe brain trauma, but they cannot protect riders from all concussions and spinal cord damage. Most cyclists are completely exposed and obtain both primary and secondary-impact injuries. Negligent drivers bear liability for direct-impact injuries, i.e., fractured ribs from turning accidents, and secondary-impact injuries, i.e., dislocated shoulders from the resulting fall.
The faster the vehicle was traveling when the impact occurred, the more serious the victim’s injuries were. However, even slow-moving vehicles can cause fatal trauma. St. Louis has a citywide 25 miles per hour speed limit to mitigate the damages associated with dangerous driving accidents, especially collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians.
Recovering Financial Damages After Cycling Accidents in the St. Louis Metro Area
Both Missouri and Illinois allow injured cyclists (or their families in wrongful death cases) to demand economic and non-economic damages from negligent drivers and/or property owners. Attorneys might also demand damages from St. Louis bike-share companies and/or bicycle manufacturers if defective parts contributed to the crash. Whether experienced bicycle accident lawyers bring negligence, premises liability, wrongful death, or product liability claims, successful lawsuits entitle claimants to personal injury damages.
These damages may include the value of totaled bicycles and direct out-of-pocket costs, including:
- Ambulance and emergency room bills
- Hospital and doctors costs
- Physical and cognitive rehabilitation
- Massage and acupuncture therapy
- Medications and medical devices
- Medical transportation costs
- Household assistance (cleaning, cooking, bathing)
- Home nursing care
- Lost income (salary, business profits, and commissions)
- Lost employment benefits (healthcare payments and 401K contributions)
- Lost earning capacity and promotions
These damages may include past losses, including overdue medical bills and future anticipated expenses. St. Louis bicycle accident lawyers frequently retain economic and medical experts to help their clients calculate the true value of their damages and make accurate insurance demands. It’s essential to speak with dedicated personal injury counsel before accepting potentially low-ball insurance offers. Once you do, you cannot generally demand additional damages.
Because cycling is an important way of life, claimants often struggle with depression stemming from their physical pain, emotional anguish, and loss of life’s enjoyment. Spouses also frequently suffer from lost physical and emotional companionship. Importantly, injured cyclists might recover the estimated value of these non-economic (pain and suffering) damages. Insurers generally calculate these damages by multiplying the claimant’s overall economic losses.
The multiplication factor, generally between 1.5 and 7, depends on the seriousness of your overall injuries and crash factors. For example, drunk-driving accidents resulting in paralysis may result in high-value pain and suffering awards. Experienced St. Louis injury attorneys can demand insurers increase the value of pain and suffering settlements based on the unique circumstances of your case, including the loss of a previously active lifestyle.
What to Expect with Bicycle Accident Lawyer Fees
Because our bicycle accident litigators accept viable cases on a contingency fee basis, we don’t get paid unless our clients recover needed compensation after devastating cycling crashes. This means St. Louis cyclists unlawfully injured in bicycle accidents can recover needed damages without any upfront fees or costs.
We help recently injured riders apply for insurance benefits, negotiate fair injury settlements, and even sue negligent parties for damages. Many bicycle accident cases settle for the full value of the negligent driver’s insurance policy.
Confidentially discuss your claims with our dedicated St. Louis cycling accident team by calling (314) 208-2808 or contacting us online.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Boating Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Golf Cart Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Metrolink Accidents
- Public Transportation Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Snowmobile Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
Ways to Prevent Bicycle Accidents
As the driver of a motor vehicle, it is important to keep in mind that bicycles do not possess the typical outline of a car or truck. Remembering that bicycles have a narrow silhouette can help motorists keep an eye out for cyclists along the roadway, leading to fewer accidents caused by drivers simply not seeing bicycles. Additionally, knowing the common causes of bicycle crashes provides drivers with increased awareness when navigating those particular situations.
Bicyclists should also take precaution by wearing helmets, protective gloves, shirt, pants, etc. In addition, it is extremely important for cyclists to have reflectors on their bikes and clothing. This increases visibility and will more easily allow motor vehicle drivers the opportunity to see bicyclists.
Missouri Bicycle Accident Settlements
If you are seeking compensation for damages, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. While Missouri’s statute of limitations allows victims to pursue claims against negligent parties for up to five years after an accident, failure to gather evidence, proof of injuries, and other information immediately after the accident can lead to the other party’s insurer attempting to shift blame in the accident, deterioration of evidence, and other consequences that can affect your settlement.
Consulting a lawyer right after the accident helps ensure that you have substantial proof from the accident, are protected from the at-fault party, and that your bike accident settlement is mediated as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Typically, bicycle crash settlements include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Mental and emotional distress
- Loss of income/wages
- Future medical expenses
- Lost earning ability
The amount of compensation you will receive will vary significantly based on the severity of your injuries, who was at fault for the accident, and other specifics that can be identified by an experienced lawyer.
St. Louis Bicycle Accident FAQs
Biking offers a great way to get around and enjoy what the St. Louis Metro area has to offer. Whether you’re trying to burn off some excess energy, enjoy the fresh air, work some exercise into your day, or lessen your carbon footprint, biking is the way to go. Unfortunately, when motorists fail to live up to the duty of care they owe you, bicyclists can pay the ultimate price. If a motorist’s negligence injures you in a bike accident, The Dixon Injury Firm—serving both St. Louis and Metro East areas—is ready to skillfully advocate for you. Below are some questions our St. Louis bicycle accident lawyers regularly hear. To discuss specific questions, reach out to our office directly for your free case evaluation.
Are there cycling opportunities in St. Louis?
The League of American Bicyclists awards St. Louis a Silver designation for how bicycle-friendly it is. The process involves completing an extensive application that national experts in the field and members of the city’s cycling community review. The award comes with extensive feedback for the city itself. Since the awards include bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and diamond categories, St. Louis has both reasons to be proud of cycling opportunities and plenty of room for improvement. St. Louis offers many activities for cyclists of all levels, including:
- Exploring Forest Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in the country that hosts 12 million visitors every year and has miles of bike paths.
- Participating in the annual World Naked Bike Ride.
- Riding a bike to avoid parking at Busch Stadium to see the 11-time world champion St. Louis Cardinals
- Riding on one of the many paths constructed as part of the Greenway Project
- Riding along the Katy Trail on the outskirts of the city
The many cycling opportunities mean many accident and injury risks, as well.
What are the unique dangers cyclists face?
When you’re on your bike, many factors make you far more vulnerable to the dangers of the road, including the negligence of other drivers. Some cyclist-specific risks include:
- Because you take up so little space on the road, you’re more difficult to see, and it’s far easier for you to get lost in the blind spots of drivers.
- You don’t have a protective cover to act as a buffer to the impact of an accident when you’re on your bike.
- Because you ride on two wheels, you are susceptible to falling over and hitting the ground.
- Poorly maintained roadways and the effects of bad weather affect you more.
- Although you merge with traffic, the other vehicles are far larger, heavier, and faster than you, giving them a safety advantage.
- In addition to watching out for traffic on the road, you need to worry about the doors of parked cars swinging open into your path and causing dooring accidents.
While you have greater risks as a cyclist, you still have the right to share the road safely. Drivers should use proper caution near bicycles. The higher injury risks of cyclists are no excuse for driver negligence.
How dangerous are bike accidents?
The statistics regarding bike accidents are bleak. According to the National Safety Council (NSC):
- In one recent year, the number of preventable bike fatalities rose by 6 percent (over the previous year), but over the prior 10 years, the number rose by 37 percent.
- Of the 1,089 bike accident fatalities in that year, 712 involved car accidents
- The number of preventable injury-causing bike accidents rose seven percent over a year to 308,864.
Hundreds of thousands of cyclists suffer injuries each year across the U.S., and many of these happen in the St. Louis Metro and Metro East areas. Additionally, reports indicate that in bike accidents due to the negligence of others, approximately half involve:
- Drivers who make unsafe lane changes
- Car occupants who open their car doors into moving traffic
- Drivers who fail to yield properly when making left turns or U-turns
When you cycle, you can take as many precautions as possible, but you cannot prevent drivers from making errors that lead to crashes and injuries.
What are the primary causes of bike accidents?
Many factors can lead cyclists to crash, but the most common cause of accidents and injuries is driver negligence. Drivers can act carelessly or recklessly in many different ways, and negligent drivers should always be liable for the injuries they cause. This includes injuries when a driver collides with a bicycle. Below are only some of the many forms of driver negligence in bicycle accident claims.
- In one year, excess speed played a role in a full 26 percent of all fatal traffic accidents.
- Excess speed kills an average of 25 people every day, and some of them are bicyclists in St. Louis.
- Speed is a factor in a traffic accident when the driver drove too fast for conditions, broke the speed limit, or was racing.
- Speed becomes a greater factor in traffic fatalities as the condition of the road deteriorates due to rain, ice, snow, frost, standing water, and/or debris.
When motorists choose to speed, they greatly increase the chances of deadly accidents. The faster motorists travel, the greater the risk to bicyclists.
Distracted drivers don’t pay adequate attention to driving safely, and cyclists can suffer injuries in the process. Distractions fall into three classifications:
- Distractions that occupy a driver’s vision, such as allowing one’s eyes to wander
- Distractions that occupy a driver’s thoughts, such as daydreaming
- Distractions that occupy a driver’s hands, such as reaching for something in the car
While each type of distraction is dangerous in and of itself, these are even riskier when combined, and texting manages to create all three types of distraction. Researchers estimate it takes about five seconds to read or compose a text, and during that time, a motorist can travel about the length of a football field when driving at highway speeds without looking at the road. In one recent year, more than 2,800 people lost their lives and another 400,000 suffered injuries due to distracted drivers. Approximately one out of every five fatal crashes involving distracted driving killed someone who was not in the vehicle, including cyclists and pedestrians. Distracted drivers can fail to see other stopped cars or trucks, and it is even easier to miss a cyclist who is already more difficult to see. Unfortunately, Missouri still has no laws banning texting and driving for all drivers, so distracted drivers put cyclists at risk every day.
Failure to Follow the Rules of the Road
The best way to help ensure safe roads is to establish and enforce rules of the road, including traffic laws and traffic signals, lights, and signs. When motorists ignore these rules and regulations, their violations can lead to bicycle accidents and liability for injuries to cyclists.
Impairment behind the wheel is a serious problem in St. Louis and across the U.S.:
- Each day, 29 people across the country lose their lives to a drunk driver.
- The cost of drunk driving accidents reaches about $44 billion each year.
- In one year, 28 percent of all traffic fatalities involved alcohol impairment.
- In that same year, more than one million motorists faced charges of driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, but this is only one percent of the motorists who self-report doing so.
Alcohol causes cognitive, physical, and sensory impairments that significantly interfere with a motorist’s ability to drive safely. When you factor in the diminished impulse control and lapsed inhibitions that come with alcohol impairment, it is no surprise that drunk drivers regularly cause harm to cyclists in St. Louis.
Exhaustion behind the wheel is getting greater attention because its dangerous effects are becoming more apparent. Research shows that:
- The road can have a hypnotic effect, and the drowsier drivers become behind the wheel, their reaction times grow while their ability to notice hazards and maintain focus decreases.
- When a driver goes more than 20 hours without sleep, they experience impairments that mimic a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, which is the legal limit for most drivers in Missouri.
- Motorists who are overtired are three times more likely to cause car accidents.
- While the actual numbers may be far higher due to underreporting, officials estimate that drowsy driving causes almost 800 traffic fatalities and about 50,000 injury-causing accidents each year.
Aggressive drivers are often impatient with slower-moving vehicles, which means they can pose severe risks to cyclists. Aggression can lead drivers to intentionally violate traffic rules and laws, and they might:
- Speed (the hallmark of aggressive driving)
- Zip in and out of lanes
- Honk incessantly
- Flash vehicle lights
- Attempt to engage other motorists by using foul language and/or obscene gestures
- Cut other motorists off
- Ignore traffic signals, signs, and lights
- Refuse to yield the right-of-way appropriately
- Cross multiple lanes of traffic without concern for what other motorists are doing
- Pass illegally (including passing on the shoulder)
Some motorists will try to force cyclists off the road to avoid being behind a slower bicycle. Even if the car does not hit you on your bike, this can cause you to crash, and the aggressive driver should still be at fault and liable for your injuries and losses. No matter what type of driver negligence caused your bicycle accident, you deserve compensation from anyone who violated their duty of care to you. Discuss liability for your crash with a St. Louis bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.
What losses can I seek compensation for?
If a motorist’s negligence causes you injuries in a bike accident, the losses (or legal damages) you experience can be immense. The physical, financial, and emotional losses you sustain break down into several basic categories.
Because bike accidents are so dangerous, your associated medical expenses are likely to be very high, and they may be ongoing for years. Some medical costs you might expect include:
- Emergency care
- Surgical care
- Care from doctors and medical specialists
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Prescription medications
- Pain management
- Adaptive physical devices
- Medical treatments, tests, and procedures
While you tend to your recovery, you can expect your earnings to decrease from missing work. If your injuries are quite serious, you can face a lifetime of financial loss due to decreased earning potential. Calculating past and future lost income can be challenging, and you want a legal professional handling these determinations.
Your Physical and Psychological Pain and Suffering
The physical and emotional pain and suffering you must endure due to someone else’s negligence can be far more difficult to cope with than you may expect. This category of loss is all too real, and you should never overlook it in your bike accident claim. Pain and suffering can include permanent disabilities or disfigurement, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Turn to an Experienced St. Louis Bicycle Accident Attorney for the Help You Need
If you suffered harm in a bike accident due to a driver’s negligence, the bicycle accident lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm—serving both St. Louis and Metro East areas—are on your side. We have the experience and legal insight you need, and our practice focuses on helping clients like you recover compensation for their full range of losses. For more information, please don’t wait to reach out and contact us online or call us at (314) 208-2808 today.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202, St. Louis,
I highly recommend Chris Dixon to anyone dealing with a personal injury case. He was there every step of the way, he was prompt and easy to get a hold of at any time during this process. He is very educated and highly skilled in his field and helped me receive the best medical attention possible. If you’re looking for the best personal injury in St. Louis, look no further. Chris Dixon, in my eyes, is the best!
– Ryan B.