In 2009 alone 630 bicyclists were killed and 51,000 were injured in collisions with motor vehicles (1). While some accidents are unavoidable, taking proper precautions can lessen the effect of the accident. Wearing reflective clothing, and making sure your bike is in full working order are two ways to do this. However, the most important factor to consider for your safety is to wear a helmet.
Only about 35% of cyclists use a helmet always or most of the time (2) and 91% of bicyclists killed in collisions weren’t wearing a helmet (3). The evidence is clear, wearing a helmet while riding your bike could save your life. Only 9% of bicyclists killed in 2009 were wearing a helmet! Unfortunately, even if you take all possible precautions, collisions as a result of driver negligence or poorly maintained roadways are stark realities.
Studies show that drivers aren’t always good at looking out for bicycles because they are smaller than cars, and drivers aren’t used to seeing them on the road (4). This negligence contributes to the many bicyclists killed and injured by collisions with automobiles every year. While you may increase your visibility with bright reflective clothing, you can’t do anything to improve drivers’ attention to their surroundings.
One common accident occurring between automobiles and bicyclists is called “dooring”. As the name implies this occurs when a bicyclist runs into or is struck by an open car door. This can crush the bicyclists’ hand, or launch them over the handlebars. The injuries sustained during a dooring incident can be extensive. Another common cause of bicycle accidents is poor road conditions.
Road conditions affect bicyclists far more than those driving automobiles. Issues with road condition include potholes, loose debris, poor pavement transition, and improper trenching. These issues may not affect drivers or affect them minimally, therefore they are often overlooked. Another issue effecting bicyclist safety is overgrown foliage or trees along the road. These poorly tended trees/foliage can be a safety issue if they effect the bicyclist’s vision. The poor vision the results from unsatisfactory tree/foliage maintenance can lead to a bicyclists’ inability to recognize poor road conditions, or automobiles.
Bailey Oliver Law Firm can help if you are injured in a bicycle accident. For example most witnesses can’t accurately gauge a cyclist’s speed; however with our expert witnesses we can show how quickly you were actually traveling, and who entered the intersection first. With these resources at your disposal you are far more likely to receive fair treatment if you have been unfairly injured while riding your bicycle.
1) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts: 2009 Data-Bicyclists an Other Cyclists, www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811386.pdf
2) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Survey of Cyclists and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior: Vol. I: Summary Report 8 (DOT HS 810 971, Aug. 2008), www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Traffic%20Injury%20Control/Articles/Associated%20Files/810971.pdf
3) Ins. Inst. For Hwy. Safety, Fatality Facts: Bicycles 2009, www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/pedestrians-and-bicyclists/fatalityfacts/bicycles/2009
4) Richard D. Blomberg, Allen Hale and David F. Preusser, Experimental Evaluation of Alternation Conspicuity-Enhancement Techniques for Pedestrians and Bicyclists, 17 Journal of Safety Research 1 (1986).