In collisions between bicycles and automobiles, the chance that a bicyclist will be seriously injured is high. Bicyclists may wear helmets and reflective clothing, follow the rules of the road, and do everything they can to stay safe, but they are often struck by vehicles through no fault of their own, resulting in catastrophic, life-altering injuries.
In recent years, this concern has grown as more and more people use bikes for exercise or to commute to work. According to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of fatal bicycle accidents across the United States hit an all time low of 621 in 2010, but ever since then, it has been increasing, with 818 bicyclists dying in collisions in 2015, the most recent year in which data was available.
Additional Findings about Bicycle Accidents
The report noted several other troubling statistics regarding recent trends in bicycle accidents and fatalities, including:
- In the past, the majority of people killed in bicycle accidents were children, but adult bicyclists now make up 88 percent of fatalities, and the average age of people killed is 45.
- While the percentage of fatal bike accidents is evenly split between daytime and nighttime, 80 percent of bicycle trips take place during the day, demonstrating the increased risk of bicycling at night.
- Alcohol impairment affects both drivers and bicyclists. In fatal bike accidents, 22 percent of bicyclists and 12 percent of drivers had a blood alcohol content (BAC) that was over the legal limit of .08 percent.
- Only 27 percent of fatal bicycle crashes take place at intersections.
- 54 percent of bicyclists killed were not wearing a helmet.
Improving Bike Safety
The report makes a number of recommendations on how to improve safety and reduce the number of bicycle fatalities, including:
- Both drivers and bicyclists should take steps to avoid operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Lack of visibility and failure of drivers to yield the right of way are some of the most common contributing factors in bicycle accidents. Drivers should take care to watch for bicycles around them and both drivers and bicyclists should always follow the rules of the road.
- Communities should follow design standards that provide a safe environment for bicycles on their streets. This can include lowering speed limits around schools, parks, or senior centers and implementing automated enforcement of speed limits and traffic lights.
Contact a Waukegan Bicycle Accident Attorney
The injuries sustained in a bicycle accident can be incredibly debilitating, and if you have been injured in a collision with a car, you deserve to receive compensation that will address the financial difficulties you face while you recover. Contact the Lake County personal injury lawyers of Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. at 847-662-330 to schedule a free initial consultation.