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Getting hit on your bike can lead to life-long stress

Cyclists worry about car accidents. It's just a reality of their chosen mode of transportation. In a place like New York, with the packed city streets and the chaos of urban life, there are going to be accidents involving cyclists. Some of these could lead to serious injuries.

But it's not just the physical injuries that you need to consider. A single accident, no matter how bad it is, can lead to a lifetime of stress and anxiety.

For instance, one man got hit in the fall of 2008 when a driver came up behind him and struck his bicycle. He was in a bike lane, but that didn't make a difference. He got road rash and he bruised his ribs -- admittedly minor injuries compared to what could have happened.

Ten years later, though, he wrote that he still felt nervous whenever he heard a car behind him. As a cyclist in the city, that could be a nearly constant phenomenon. Are the stress and anxiety going to make cycling impossible?

Those who get into serious accidents could also run the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can lead to extreme stress and anxiety. It can also bring on things like avoidance behavior, nightmares, flashbacks, sleep deprivation, panic attacks, heart palpitations, chills, headaches, irrational behavior and angry outbursts. PTSD can last for life and it can ruin relationships. There are very real physical issues tied to this mental disorder.

After an accident, you may need medical treatment for these additional issues, beyond your physical injuries. Be sure you know if you have a right to financial compensation.

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