augusta free press news

Do you want to be a bike messenger? Beware of these risks

bike messenger
(© Halfpoint – stock.adobe.com)

Bike messengers play an essential role in the efficient delivery of business documents, packages, and other goods. They often operate under tight schedules, pressured to deliver to the customer as promised.

When you combine tight deadlines with unforgiving traffic, you have a recipe for potential disaster. If you want to get into this business, there are a few things you should know.

Danger should be part of the job description

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, bike messengers are injured on the job at a higher rate than the national average for similar professions. They typically spend 8 to 10 hours a day on the road, during which they often navigate through harrowing traffic situations, avoiding near misses with trucks, buses, cars, and pedestrians.

Bike messengers may be thrown from their bikes when passengers open car doors suddenly, forced to swerve to avoid hitting pedestrians and clear the way when drivers fail to respect bike lanes. Protected by little more than a helmet and some knee pads, cyclists usually get the worst of the damage when they have to go head to head with a car, truck, or bus.

Common injuries for bike messengers

Bike messengers can suffer some pretty catastrophic injuries when hit by a car or a bus. However, those are not the only injuries to which they are exposed. They may suffer traumatic brain injuries when they fall and hit their heads. When they try to brace themselves from the fall, they may break their hands, fingers, and wrists. Other common injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Sprains
  • Fractures
  • Spinal damage
  • Loss of hearing or vision
  • Permanent disability from work-related accidents.

In addition to these physical injuries, emotional trauma may accompany these incidents. If you feel overwhelmed by anxiety or prone to depression, do not hesitate to contact a mental health specialist.

Road hazards also play a role in causing bike messenger injuries. Potholes, open manholes, construction sites, and broken sidewalks pose a daily danger to cyclists. Many bike messengers have brought lawsuits against the city for neglecting to fix road hazards that make navigating city streets dangerous.

When bike messengers are hurt on the job, they often lose time from work and much-needed income. Filing for compensation can help cover some of the economic impact. A personal injury lawyer can offer guidance on the filing process.

Seeking compensation for bicycle accident injuries

If you were injured in a traffic accident as a mike messenger, you may qualify for compensation. There are two main paths you may take, depending on your specific situation. If you are an employee of a company, you should be covered by workers’ compensation. However, if you work part-time or as a contractor, you may not qualify for workers’ compensation. In that case, you can pursue a lawsuit against the responsible party.

If you are covered by workers’ compensation, you may not file a lawsuit against your employer. However, it should not be a problem to receive benefits for your work-related injury. Also, if you wish to explore other routes, consult an attorney.

Furthermore, in certain cases, you may file a bicycle accident claim against a private business or public municipality. However, you need to prove that they failed to repair a damaged sidewalk, cover a manhole, or erect construction barriers, and their negligence led to your injury.

You can also sue for damages against a motorist, bus, or truck driver who hit you while on the job. There are several actions that you can take to recover from your injuries. The key is to file your claim quickly and have the evidence you need to prove your case.

Figuring out where you stand can be tricky. If you are not sure about your insurance coverage, contact a personal injury lawyer. After a close review of your case, they can assess your position and may advise you on further steps to take.

The importance of preventive measures

Bike messengers face dangerous jobs, and sadly, many are permanently hurt or even killed. There are ways to avoid injury by carefully planning a route, wearing protective gear, and using reflectors on your bike. What you cannot control, however, is the negligent or reckless acts of others. When you are hurt because of someone else’s actions, you deserve compensation.

Final thoughts

A dedicated personal injury attorney with experience in handling bike messenger injury claims can help with your case. If you have been hurt, it is important to start a bicycle accident claim immediately. When you depend on your bike and your body for your livelihood, even a minor accident can be devastating.

 

Story by Mark Scott. With a law degree under his belt and years of experience, Mark set off to make the law more accessible to all. He decided to help people lost in the maze of legal terminology to find their way. Mark writes clear and concise pieces and gives simple advice that is easy to follow. On account of positive feedback from readers, he decided to dedicate more of his time to this goal and became a legal columnist. In his writings, Mark covers a wide array of topics, like how to seek legal counsel, or how to deal with different procedures. Furthermore, he directs his readers toward other trustworthy resources for more in-depth information.