A lot of people enjoy bike riding here in Los Angeles year round. And who wouldn’t? Bicycles are a great, environmentally friendly way of getting from here to there and they are a great form of exercise too.

But Los Angeles, like many cities across the nation, is incredibly busy, with motor vehicles zipping by on just about every street. Sometimes, drivers don’t always pay attention to their surroundings and accidentally run into bicyclists, causing them serious or fatal injuries.

That brings us to the question present in this post’s title: what injuries could I suffer in a bicycle accident? To answer this question, we’ll see what physicians across the United States see frequently after these catastrophic accidents.

Bruises and lacerations. A bike’s design, unlike a car, doesn’t offer much protection during an accident. If the crash occurs at slow speeds or the rider is merely clipped by a moving vehicle, a rider may only suffer bruises or superficial abrasions. It’s worth pointing out, however, that even these injuries require medical attention — a cost that may need to be covered by a negligent driver.

Broken bones. In more high-speed impacts or collisions with larger vehicles, the force on a bicyclist’s body is great, and can lead to breaks. These are painful injuries that can take weeks or months to heal, sometimes even leaving you physically unable to work or do daily tasks.

Head injuries. Though studies show that wearing a bicycle helmet reduces your risk of a head injury in a collision, not everyone wears one. It’s estimated that anywhere between 22 and 47 percent of injured bicyclists also suffer a head injury. When an exposed head strikes a solid object, the risk of suffering a serious head trauma increases; and depending on the forces in the accident, this can result in brain damage as well.

As you can see, the severity of injuries suffered in a bicycle accident can vary greatly. Some injuries may even result in long-term disabilities, which is another reason why seeking compensation after a crash is so important.

Source: The American Academy of Family Physicians, “Bicycle-Related Injuries,” Matthew J. Thompson, M.B., CH.B., Frederick P. Rivara, M.D., M.P.H., Accessed Oct. 8, 2014