Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer underwent surgery Saturday to replace his right shoulder, according to a Supreme Court spokeswoman. Justice Breyer injured his shoulder the prior day while riding his bicycle near the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Justice Breyer has been injured in two collisions before, sustaining a broken collarbone, broken ribs, and a punctured lung from which he fully recovered. He is also expected to make a full recovery from his recent shoulder surgery.
Breyer’s accident illustrates that bicycle injuries can be severe in some cases and even fatal. In fact there were 677 bicycle-related fatalities in 2011, which accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide.
Bicycling can be a great form of exercise and transportation but it can also be dangerous. Collisions with other bicyclists, motor vehicles, and other hazards mean that cyclists must always be aware of their surroundings.
In Illinois, bicyclists are lawfully allowed to ride on the roads with motor vehicles and cyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of a driver when doing so, including following traffic laws, yielding the right-of-way, and traveling in a marked lane of traffic. However if an area has a specifically designated bike lane and/or traffic signals, bicyclists should adhere to the bicycle-specific directions.
Common injuries to bicyclists involved in collisions include broken bones, cuts and abrasions, injuries to the hands and wrists, shoulder injuries including to the rotator cuffs, and head injuries. Head injuries are common and can be some of the most threatening faced by bicyclists because of their severity and potential for permanency.
The most effective way to prevent a head injury while riding a bicycle is to wear a properly fitting helmet. To find an appropriate helmet, first measure your head for an approximate size and then visit a helmet retailer to try on a few helmets to find one that fits snugly. When a helmet is sitting flat on your head, it should not rock from side to side. Many helmets come with sizing pads to make the fit perfect for your specific head. The helmet should sit low on your forehead but far enough above your eyebrows to give you an unobstructed line of sight. Tighten the chin and side straps to make sure your helmet is secure and will protect you in the event of a collision.
Unfortunately a helmet cannot prevent all injuries bicyclists may experience in a collision. Therefore it is very important that a rider be aware of traffic at all times and ride defensively.
It only takes a moment for the negligence of another rider or driver to cause a collision with a bicyclist that results in injuries, some of which may be catastrophic. Bicyclists have rights to ride and be safe from the negligence of others. If you have been injured while riding a bicycle or if a family member has been injured or killed, call the Illinois bicycle attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. for a free, no-obligation consultation today. We have experience representing injured cyclists and we are ready to fight on your behalf. Call us today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or (312) 475-9596 to talk to a lawyer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Breyer has shoulder surgery, by Mark Sherman, Chicago Sun-Times, published April 27, 2013.
U.S. Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Facts, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2011.
Illinois Transplant Recipient Receives Rabies Vaccine After Doctors Give Him Organ From Infected Donor, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published April 28, 2013.
Civil Cases Filed Against Frankfort Pediatrician Accused of Sexually Assaulting Women in His Office, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published April 27, 2013.