Avoiding a bicycle accident, whether you are a motor vehicle driver or a property owner, may not always be at the top of your mind. That’s because a lot of times bicycle accidents tend to happen so quickly that neither bicyclist or driver and/or property owner have much time in the way of a warning. In 2014, bicyclists accounted for 2 percent of all traffic-related fatalities and 2 percent of all crash-related injuries, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
As our roadways get more and more congested, motorists as well as bicycle enthusiasts look for ways to curb bicycle accidents. The best way to do that is through continued research, studies, and technological advances.
“It’s interesting cause most of those states with the higher (bicycle accident) rates tend to be the warmer weather states because in those areas you can generally walk and bike year-round,” said Peter Savolanien, a safety engineer at Iowa State Institute for Transportation.
10 Facts to Know About Bicycle Accidents
The following facts and statistics on bicycle accidents were gathered from news reports and safety agencies:
- There are approximately 1,000 bicycle-related fatalities annually, and the estimated costs to society for these deaths amount to $8 billion annually, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- About one-in-five bicyclists who are killed in motor vehicle-related crashes had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08 percent, which is typically the highest threshold level in most states that deems a driver under the influence of alcohol (DUI), according to the NHTSA.
- In the U.S., we have seen a 64 percent increase in bicyclists riding to work from the years 2000 to 2012, according to the NHTSA.
- In 2015, 818 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle-related crashes, which is more than two people every day of the year in the U.S., according to the NHTSA.
- The NHTSA also notes that there has been a 6 percent increase in bicyclist deaths since 2006, and there’s been a 12.2 percent increase since 2014.
- While estimated bicycle injuries dropped to 45,000 in 2015, which was down from 50,000 in 2014, research records show that many injuries that reach hospitals never get reported by law enforcement, according to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.
- The average age of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle-related accidents was 45 in 2014, in 2004 it was 39, in 1998 it was 32, and in 1988 it was 24, according to the NHTSA.
- 71 percent of bicyclists’ deaths occurred in urban areas, according to the NHTSA.
- The top three states that lead the nation in bicycle fatalities are: No. 1 Florida (139), No. 2. California (128), and No. 3 Texas (50), according to the NHTSA.
- Only Rhode Island and Vermont reported no bicycle/motor vehicle-related fatalities in 2014, according to the NHTSA.
What Can Be Done to Reduce the Risk of Bicycle Deaths and Injuries?
Statistics are difficult to come by for bicycle related injuries and deaths, because it’s hard to know how many people actually ride them and how far they ride them. The U.S. Department of Transportation is pushing an agenda of increasing the number of bicyclists, while simultaneously reducing the number of accidents. It’s hoped that the U.S. follows the same trend that has shaped up in Europe, where the increasing number of bicyclists has created a ‘safety in numbers’ mindset. The following are some industry suggestions that are also aimed at reducing bicycle accidents:
- Wearing a helmet alone can reduce the odds of head injury by 50, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- Education campaigns, like Grand Rapids’ $600,000 advertising blitz spent on TV, radio stations, billboards, bus ads, and social media resulted in an 80 percent drop in serious accidents between cars and bicycles. 1
- Always ride an appropriate sized bike.
- Follow the same traffic laws as motorists, so everyone is on the same page. For instance, stop at stop signs and traffic lights.
- Try to avoid riding at night, but if you must be sure to have front and rear lights as well as reflective clothing.
- Always make sure your bike’s brakes and gears are working properly.
- Keep a safe distance from parked cars, in the event a door opens.
- Don’t listen to headphones or music while riding a bike, because your focus should be on the roadways.
- Advances are being made with both bicycle safety equipment, such as smart helmets; and self-driving cars, which are developing sophisticated sensors to locate bicycles and bicyclists.
Contact a Colorado Springs Bicycle Accident Lawyer at Wills Law, P.C.
If you find yourself the defendant driver in a collision lawsuit involving a bicyclist, you need an experienced attorney on your side. You’ll find that champion defense litigator in Colorado Springs Bicycle Accident Lawyer Wm Andrew “Drew” Wills II.
To schedule a free initial consultation, call (719) 633-8500 or email the firm using the form on this page.
Attorney Drew Wills II has more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, so you can be sure that he’ll help you successfully navigate the civil justice system and defend your rights for the best possible outcome.
Drew’s office is based in Colorado Springs, but he’ll accept clients throughout El Paso County and the rest of the state of Colorado.
1“Michigan is 11th Highest in Bicyclist Deaths” published in WMUK 102.1 News, July 2017.