Bicycle Crashes on the Decline for 3rd Straight Year in Pennsylvania
We have some good news. The number of bicycle crashes has decreased for the last three years in Pennsylvania. However, these types of accidents are still responsible for nearly twenty deaths a year in our state and hundreds of injuries—many of which are catastrophic. While biking can be a wonderful way to take in the scenic views of Lancaster County, distracted and careless drivers make this favorite pastime for many, very dangerous. You might be wondering who pays for medical expenses in Pennsylvania bicycle crashes. Our experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Georgelis Injury Law Firm are here to help. Let’s take a look at:
- Who Pays Medical Bills After Bicycle Crashes?
- Who is Most at Risk of a Bike Injury?
- The Most Dangerous Times and Places to Bike
Who Pays Medical Bills After Bicycle Crashes?
When an auto accident involving a bicycle happens, if the bicyclist owns a car and has an auto policy for their car, their medical expenses are covered by their own insurance company under the personal injury protection (PIP) or medical benefits coverage.
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, meaning that, no matter who is at fault, the injured victim’s own insurance company pays for their medical expenses. This is also the case if someone was to be struck by a car while crossing a street.
Something to keep in mind, however, is that the minimum PIP coverage drivers are required to carry is $5,000.00. So, if someone who is injured has the minimum coverage, the first $5,000.00 in medical expenses will be covered. If a bicyclist’s injuries are more extensive and require surgery or additional medical treatment that goes beyond the $5,000.00 coverage, then they would turn to their health insurance and need to pay any deductibles and/or copays associated with the plan in conjunction with the coverage.
Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law provides that an individual’s insurance company cannot seek to be reimbursed from its insured’s monetary recovery for medical expenses paid. However, certain types of health insurance plans do have the right of reimbursement or prerogative to subrogate against a damages award. Consequently, it is a good idea to have at least $50,000.00 in medical coverage through your automobile insurance policy.
All said, bicyclists injured due to the negligence or recklessness of a driver have the option to sue the driver. In this case, the injured biker may be able to recover damages to include, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and any other out-of-pocket expenses. That includes any deductibles or copays expended.
You may be wondering…what about limited tort? How does that impact the ability to sue? Just because the PIP coverage from an auto insurance carrier applies to a pedestrian or bicycling crash does not mean limited tort applies. Pennsylvania law does not apply limited tort to these types of cases. The law is quite clear that in order for the limited tort option to apply, the injured must be physically located inside of a car as either the driver or the passenger. This means that bicyclists and pedestrians who are injured by a motor vehicle are automatically considered to be full tort.
Who is Most at Risk of a Bike Injury?
Bicycling crashes are on the decline, but they have remained fairly consistent over the last five years. During that time period, Pennsylvania has seen anywhere from 1,300 bicycle crashes a year to about a thousand just last year. Those most at risk are children ages five to fourteen. Over a sixth of all the injuries involving bicycles were suffered by this age group. Two of the eighteen fatalities last year were also in this group. Here’s a breakdown of all age groups involved in bicycle accidents involving a vehicle.
- Ages 0-4, 0 fatalities, 2 injuries
- Ages 5-9, 0 fatalities, 47 injuries
- Ages 10-14, 2 fatalities, 123 injuries
- Ages 15-19, 0 fatalities, 147 injuries
- Ages 20-34, 7 fatalities, 297 injuries
- Ages 35-44, 1 fatality, 100 injuries
- Ages 45-54, 4 fatalities, 98 injuries
- Ages 55-64, 2 fatalities, 106 injuries
- Ages 65-74 1 fatality, 25 injuries
- Ages 75+, 1 fatality, 5 injuries
The Most Dangerous Times and Places to Bike
The vast majority of bicycling accidents happen during daylight hours. That said, many of the fatalities happened during non-daylight conditions and accounted for 44% of the total fatalities last year. Ten bicyclists died during daylight hours, while another 686 were injured. Three bicyclists who ventured out in the dark, where street lights were present, died, while another 194 were injured. When no street lights were in play at night, five bicyclists died from injuries and another 38 were hurt. Dusk involves 3.3% (32) of the injured and dawn involves the timeframe when eleven bikers were injured.
Taking a look at where bicyclists are most often injured, statistics point to state highways as the most dangerous place to ride, followed by local roads.
Source: PA Dept. of Transportation
What to Do After Bicycle Crashes Involving an Auto Accident
When you or someone you know is injured in a bicycling accident, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney right away. At Georgelis Injury Law Firm, our attorneys have successfully handled bicycling accident cases for decades. We will aggressively fight for your rights and to protect you from being taken advantage of by the insurance companies, as we have done for countless others. In fact, we have won more than 99% of our cases and recovered more than $50,000,000.00 for our clients.
Our compassionate and resourceful team will listen to your concerns, answer your questions and explain your options in easy-to-understand language, without all the legal talk. We make sure our clients are completely knowledgeable of their rights and comfortable with the process.
If you want maximum compensation for your bicycling injuries, our seasoned trial lawyers are ready to step in and work for you. Call Georgelis First at 1-800-HURT-NOW. We are available 24/7, and we never charge a fee unless and until we get compensation for you!