Common elements in bicycle accidents

According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, bicycle fatalities increased by 12.2 percent in 2015 from the previous year. However, bicycle accidents overall were down by 10 percent. In Pennsylvania, there were 16 deaths and 1,268 injuries in 2015.

Although these numbers may seem small, many of these accidents could have been prevented if motorists paid more attention to smaller vehicles. Anyone can be injured or killed on the road, but statistics show that many victims of bicycle accidents have factors in common:  

  • More men are injured and killed in bicycle accidents than women.
  • 27 percent of the cyclists killed in 2015 had been drinking.
  • 37 percent of the crashes involved alcohol.
  • The average age of cyclists killed was 45, up from 36 in 2002.
  • The majority of fatal crashes were in urban settings.
  • Only about one-third of fatalities occurred at intersections.
  • Children have a higher risk of death and injuries than adults.

Bicyclist accidents represent only about 2 percent of all motor vehicle crashes each year, but cyclists face a higher potential for serious injuries because, unlike motor vehicle passengers, they are not protected by one or several tons of metal. The BHSI recommends that every cyclist wears a helmet, as this is one key element to staying safer on the road. Cyclists also should ride defensively and pay attention to potential hazards. Go with traffic and obey the rules of the road.

Even when cyclists take all precautions, accidents still happen because motorists often do not see cyclists. Following a bicycle accident, it is a good idea to speak to an experienced attorney who can assess your claim and make sure you are receiving the compensation for any injuries, time and losses. Insurance companies may try to place blame on the cyclist, which can make pursuing a claim even more difficult. You may want the help of an advocate to fight for your rights to get the best possible outcome for your situation.

Written on behalf of Friedman Schuman. Contact our firm for a consultation to discuss your legal matter.