Dangerous Potholes and the Impact on D.C. Bicyclists

Hundreds of thousands of cars travel on D.C. roadways every day. Thousands of bicyclists also share these same streets, traveling for work, exercise, or entertainment. There are many roadway dangers that primarily affect motorists, and there are some that primarily impact a bike rider’s safety. However, there is one danger that can have serious consequences for both—potholes.

Potholes form when adverse, and constantly changing, weather conditions impact the structural integrity of roadways. When these conditions are combined with the constant stress caused by heavy vehicles –like semi-trucks, utility vehicles, or even large quantities of automobiles- the roadway starts to break down. This causes potholes to develop. These potholes can be especially harmful to cyclists, and can cause serious D.C. bike accidents to happen. Understanding the dangers of potholes, and taking extra care on a ride, can help prevent an accident before it happens.

Bike riders can be on guard against potholes.
  • Potholes are dangerous – They can damage wheel rims, preventing a bicycle from working properly. Hitting a pothole can cause a bike to suddenly stop, throwing a rider over the handlebars. This can result in traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, abrasions, or other broken bones. Loose debris can become lodged in a bike chain, causing the bike to immediately stop if the chain jams.
  • Pay attention to typical pothole locations – Although potholes can develop anywhere, riding on a common path can help cyclists identify common pothole locations along the way. Knowing where they are in advance can help a rider avoid them.
  • Two methods to avoiding potholes – Riders can either jump their bike over the pothole or swerve around it. If a rider is skilled enough to do this effectively, this practice could be safer than swerving to avoid the pothole.

Swerving to avoid a pothole is probably the safest way to not hit it, but does come with risks. Riders should be aware of traffic, pedestrians, or other cyclists nearby. Swerving suddenly can cause a bicycle to collide with others nearby who may be unable to predict a rider’s actions.

If a pothole caused your Maryland bike accident injuries, it’s important to understand that you may have grounds to take legal action against one or more parties. An experienced bike accident attorney can help you navigate through the specific details of your case. Contact Lewis & Tompkins today to arrange your no-cost case evaluation with one of our personal injury lawyers with experience serving bike accident victims throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

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