Statistics and facts for bicycle accidents
Going for a bike ride is not just a way for people to enjoy a beautiful day outside. It is also an Eco-friendly way to get around and a means of transportation utilized by many residents. While it is an effective mode of transportation, it is also one that carries with it many risks. Bicyclists travel in areas where motorists frequent; therefore, cyclists and motorists need to constantly be aware of one another in order to avoid a collision.
According to statistics by the National Highway and Traffic Administration, bicycle accidents account for 2 percent of all traffic related deaths as well as 2 percent of all crash-related injuries in 2014. Based on this data, these fatal crashes were most likely to occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Additionally, these fatal collisions were most likely to occur in urban areas.
While cyclists can take safety measures to reduce the chances of an accident occurring and to help protect them from injuries in the event of an accident, it is also crucial that motorists take steps to travel safely around cyclists. In fact, motorists have a duty to uphold when they travel around bicyclists, and this goes beyond not driving too closely to them, not passing too closely or failing to yield to them.
Drivers owe cyclists the same duties they do other motorists when they are stopping at a light or sign, making a turn or traveling on a road. Thus, if a driver fails to uphold this duty and causes a bicycle accident, it may be possible to hold that driver accountable for any damages. A personal injury claim could help an injured victim seek compensation from a negligent driver for serious injuries and other damages suffered in a bike crash.
Risks of cycling become clear as popularity grows
In just about every city in the United States and around the world, more and more people are taking to the street by bike. Bicycles are often seen as a solution to many urban problems such as traffic, pollution, and poor public health. Getting on a bike reducing greenhouse gas emissions, eases up traffic on city streets, and gives riders a bit of exercise on their way to work, the store, or school. With all these benefits, many cities are looking for more ways to become bike-friendly, and that means taking a close look at safety as well as convenience.
Studies have shown that there is safety in numbers for cyclists, meaning that the more bikes there are on the road on a regular basis, the less fatal accidents occur. This may be in part because drivers of cars are more aware of the issue and know to keep an eye out for bikes.
It is important to remember that a death for someone riding a bicycle is not just a statistic about safety, it is the loss of a loved one for friends and family. Unfortunately in many cases cars, buses, trucks, and other larger vehicles can collide with a cyclist and the cyclist suffers some serious or even fatal injuries. When a family loses a loved one because of careless driving they are entitled to seek compensation through a wrongful death action. This compensation may cover hospital bills, funeral costs, lost wages, and other less easily quantifiable losses, such as the loss of a spouse.
Understanding the serious nature of bike accidents
The danger of injury or death for bicyclists on the roadways is a serious concern. According to the Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC), although bicycles account for only 1 percent of roadway traffic, bicyclists are at greater danger of crash-related injuries and death than motor vehicle occupants. In 2010, 800 bicyclists were killed in bicycle accidents and there were approximately 515,000 trips to the emergency room because of bicycle accidents and bicycle-related injuries.
Because of the vulnerable nature of bicyclists, who are unprotected on the roadways, significant injuries and harm can occur. According to research data from 2005, fatal bicycle accidents and non-fatal bicycle accident injuries accounted for a total of $5 billion in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses. Injured victims may confront medical costs, lost wages, lost-earning capacity and pain and suffering damages following a bicycle accident. In addition, families of victims killed in fatal motorcycle accidents may be left with medical bills, funeral expenses and the loss of support and services, as well as pain and suffering and other types of damages.
It is always important that drivers exercise due care for the safety of others sharing the roadways, including bicyclists. When this is not the case, a negligent driver may be liable to a victim or victim’s family for damages. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the roadways as motor vehicles.
When the rights of motorcyclists are not honored, and harm results, a negligent driver may be to blame and be liable for damages. Drivers who fail to exercise ordinary care to ensure the safety of others on the roadways, including bicyclists, and cause harm as a result may be held responsible for the victim’s damages through legal options designed to protect victims.
Common bicycle versus car accident scenarios
Many people love to ride their bicycles, even in the cooler winter months. What bike riders should understand, though, is that there are many hazards one faces when riding a bike, and one of the most serious ones is the chance that another car will hit the cyclist.
Even if a cyclist is wearing a helmet, bicyclists who are hit by automobiles face a real possibility of suffering a serious injury as a result, assuming of course they survive the accident at all. The sad thing is that, with respect to all of the common types of bicycle collisions, an automobile driver can prevent them so long as that driver is taking care to watch where he or she is going.
For instance, one common accident involving a car and bike is when a car makes a left turn into a cyclist. Usually, this happens when the driver of the car did not see the cyclist and thus made the turn right into the cyclist’s path. Cars also frequently hit bicyclists as the car driver is trying to pull out of a parking lot adjacent to a road. At other times, drivers of cars simply plow into the rear of a bicyclist, usually because they were not aware the bicyclist was in front of them.
Of course, there are ways bicyclists can prevent these accidents, as one never wants to get seriously hurt while riding their bike. Still, it is ultimately the driver of a car who must take care that they notice bicyclists and give them the same respect and rights as they would the driver of another automobile.
Driver negligence and the occurrence of bike accidents
Bicycle accidents can be dangerous incidents that cause victims serious injuries and even fatal harm. When a motor vehicle strikes a bicycle and its rider, that rider may suffer a range of injuries from their impact with the car, the road, and other surfaces in their path. Victims of bike accidents should seek medical help after their collisions to ensure that their health is properly assessed.
When someone is struck by a vehicle while riding their bike, they may wish to learn more about what they can do under the law to get back what they have lost. Losses can be financial, such as lost wages and medical bills, but they can also be emotional and physical in nature. These losses can add up fast to negatively impact victims’ abilities to care for themselves.
Litigation based on negligence may be an option for bike accident victims in this situation. Negligence is a legal theory that suggests that a person failed to meet their duty of care to others. When a person drives on a road, they have a duty to themselves and others to act reasonably and make reasonable decisions about how they will operate their car. If they choose to drink and drive, drive while distracted, break traffic laws, or engage in other dangerous practices, they may fail in their duty and commit negligence.
Fatal bike accident statistics show worrisome spike
The number of bicyclists who are losing their lives in a crash with a motor vehicle is not surprising. Given the number of drivers who are not paying strict attention to the road, this is a growing problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of riders who died in a crash rose by 10 percent in the last year. The final numbers are expected to be the worst in more than three decades. Those who were injured or lost a loved one in a fatal bike accident should be cognizant of these statistics as it can be important when considering a legal filing for compensation.
Researchers and bike safety advocates say that as vehicles become safer for those inside the compartment, it becomes riskier for those outside the vehicle – specifically bicyclists and pedestrians. Safety regulations have seen to the vehicle improvements, but this has not done much for those outside vehicles. Some automakers are implementing technology that stops the vehicle automatically to protect bicyclists and pedestrians, but not all vehicles have this. The rising popularity of SUVs has been shown to be linked to fatalities of those outside vehicles.
Emergency stopping technology might not be required if drivers adhered to the rules of the road. This is connected to being negligent, reckless and under the influence. Most commonly, however, drivers are simply distracted when driving. Despite crackdowns on distracted driving, campaigns to encourage people to put the cellphone down when behind the wheel and other tactics, the temptation to make calls, text, check emails and surf the web is too much for many people. They succumb to it and put others in jeopardy. Until automatic braking systems and other technological advances to improve safety are widespread, riders will face the same dangers they always have and it will be compounded by new ones.
After a bicycle accident, there can be serious injuries with hefty medical costs. People can find themselves unable to work and in need of help to do the most basic tasks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With fatalities, there will be funeral expenses and other costs personal and financial. A legal filing might be the only strategy to be fully compensated. Calling a law firm that has helped others with lawsuits after bicycle accidents is an important part of a case. It is vital to act quickly to move forward with a claim.
Fewer bike accidents, but more of them are fatal
For years, advocates have promoted bicycling for its benefits to the health of individuals, to civic life and to the environment. They have launched “bike to school or work days,” pushed city governments to create bike lanes and educated the public about safety. As a result, by most measures, the number of bicyclists has greatly increased on roads throughout the country.
Interestingly, the higher numbers of cyclists on the road has apparently not led to a higher number of bicycle accidents. According to bicycling advocacy group People Powered Movement, the number of bicycle accidents has been declining even as the number of bicyclists has increased. Unfortunately, the number of fatal bicycle accidents has increased at the same time. In other words, there are fewer bicycle accidents, but more of the accidents that happen are fatal. More than 70% of these fatal accidents occur in cities.
People Powered Movement offers several possible explanations for this seeming paradox. One is that the popularity of cycling has brought more inexperienced riders onto the roads, where they engage in risky behavior. Another is that local governments have not fully implemented their bicycle safety plans. A third possible explanation is that motor vehicle drivers are not taking cyclists into account when they are on the road.
When drivers are not careful, they pose a serious threat to cyclists. A small collision between a car and a bicycle might not even leave a scratch on the driver while leading to serious injury or death for the cyclist.
When drivers cause injury to a cyclist through negligence, the injured or their family members may be able to recover compensation for their damages, including medical expenses and lost wages. The costs associated with a bike accident injury can be enormous, and it’s important that the injured get the compensation they need. It’s also important to hold negligent drivers accountable after their carelessness hurts someone.
Fatal bike accidents grow at alarming pace
Bikers are always at a safety disadvantage when it comes to sharing the roadways with larger vehicles like cars and trucks. Although biking can be a great way to get exercise while getting from place to place, a bicycle cannot adequately protect a person if they are involved in an accident. Thus, even an accident that would be minor for people in a passenger vehicle, can cause devastating injuries if a bicycle is involved.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the problem of bicycle accidents is getting worse, at least when it comes to fatal bike accidents. Based on the preliminary numbers from the NHTSA, 2015 had a seven year high for all traffic fatalities across the country. Moreover, bikers and pedestrians suffered a disproportionate share of the death toll on the nation’s roadways.
Between 2014 and 2015, fatal bicycle accidents increased 13 percent. Furthermore, since 2007, fatal bike accidents, along with pedestrian accidents, have represented an increasing share of the total traffic fatalities. Although different groups of people have various theories as to why this is happening, the NHTSA has not necessarily attributed the growing number of deadly bike and pedestrian accidents to a specific cause.
These alarming numbers of fatalities could lead to new legislative proposals and other kinds of street safety initiatives. Regardless of whether that happens, every driver can take their own responsibility in looking out for bikers on the road and helping to keep them safe.
In too many cases, a driver who is distracted fails to see a bicyclist on the road. When a negligent driver causes a bike accident, the victims or their family members have legal rights against the driver.
Biking is popular in Orange County, just as it is in many parts of the country. Accordingly, drivers in automobiles should always be watching for bikers nearby. Everyone on the road should always make safety their first priority; by doing so, perhaps the number of deadly accidents will start to decline.
Defensive driving can help reduce bicycle accidents
Bicycle accidents are a problem in many parts of the country, especially where the weather is conducive to riding year-round. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that 71 percent of the fatal bicycle accidents that occurred in 2014 took place in urban areas. The NHTSA data also revealed that people are relying on their bicycles more and more for daily transportation. For example, in the period between 2000 and 2012, the number of people who traveled to work on their bicycles shot up 64 percent.
Not surprisingly, when a car or truck collides with a bicycle, the rider is more likely to suffer injury than are the people in the motor vehicle. Bicyclists who are hit by automobiles can suffer severe injuries and death, and given the increasing popularity of biking, it is important for drivers to look out for bikers and do what they can to avoid causing these kinds of accidents. Likewise, riders must also do their parts to stay safe from a potentially deadly crash with a motorist.
One recommendation that the NHTSA has for bikers is that they ride defensively. This means always staying alert and focused on the road, and watching out for all forms of traffic around them. In addition, bicyclists should ride predictably by traveling in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic, and by signaling their turns. This will help give drivers ample time to react to what the bicyclist is doing so that the driver can take appropriate action.
While a bicyclist can take all the precautions in the world, he or she stands no chance against a driver in an automobile who is not paying attention. Hence, it is imperative for drivers to also be alert and focused on the road, and to not operate their vehicles while distracted. As biking becomes a more widespread form of transportation, drivers in automobiles should prepare for the likelihood of sharing the roadways with them.
Protecting your rights following a bicycle crash
Due to their larger size and greater speed of travel, a collision with an automobile often leaves a biker with serious injuries that could be life threatening. The aftermath of a bicycle accident could be tragic, and an accident victim could suffer severe injuries and large medical expenses. At Easton & Easton, LLP, our experienced legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights of those injured in bike accidents.
With over 70 years of combined experience, we have a detailed knowledge of the applicable laws and the rights of cyclists in the state of California. Thus, we have the skills to assess the details of a bike crash, uncover pertinent evidence, and utilize expert witnesses to devise a strong plan of action. We have helped past clients prove negligence, allowing them to recover necessary compensation to cover medical bills and other related losses and damages.
To learn more, please consider visiting our law firm’s bike accident website. Bike riders are afforded certain rights, and our law firm has experience working for those injured in bicycle accidents.
BeyondChron.org, “U.S. Traffic Fatalities Rising Fast – Especially Pedestrian and Cyclist Deaths,” Angie Schmitt, July 5, 2016
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Bicycle-Related injuries,” accessed on Dec. 2, 2014
CNN, “City cycling: Road to fitness, or accident waiting to happen?” Lesley Evans Ogden, March 4, 2014