Some Facts About Bicycle Accidents

Traffic Safety Facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) say that the first automobile crash in New York City occurred on May 30, 1896, on the Western Boulevard, better known today as Broadway; the accident was a collision between a motor vehicle, driven by Henry Wells of Springfield and a bicycle, ridden by Ebeling Thomas. Since then, collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles have continuously occurred, with the highest number of fatalities being recorded in 1975 at more than a thousand; the yearly number of fatal bicycle accidents ever since has fluctuated from more than 600 to more than 900.

Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 900 bicyclists were killed and an estimated 494,000 were rushed to hospital emergency departments due to injuries. In 2014, the Insurance Institute for highway Safety (IIHS)-Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) says that fatal bicycle accidents was 720; about 86% of those who died were aged 20 and older. IIHS-HLDI also have the following on record:

  • Among bicyclists aged 16 and older, who were killed in 2014, about 21% had 0.08% or above blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels;
  • About 68% of the fatal accidents occurred in urban areas;
  • Fatal bicycle accidents in 2014 were highest during August, September, and October (from mid-summer to the start of fall), while the lowest was in February (winter season)

Other recorded facts about motor vehicle and bicycle collision say that:

  • Accidents that involved children were often results of children playing, riding too fast, losing control or doing tricks;
  • The top contributory factor, based on police records was “failed to look properly” by either the motor vehicle driver or bicycle rider, especially at junctions;
  • The second most common accident was when cyclists entered the road from the pavement or when cyclists cross the road at a pedestrian crossing;
  • Other contributory factors (on the part of the driver) included making improper turns, emerging into the path of a cyclist, poor maneuvering of the vehicle, careless or reckless driving, turning across the path of cyclist, and overspeeding; (on the part of the cyclist) the contributory factors were traveling too fast for the conditions, exceeding the speed limit, and/or riding while impaired by alcohol; and,
  • The main contributory factor in collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles has always been human error committed by either the driver or the rider.

As discussed in the website of The Benton Law Firm, fatal bicycling accidents make up for 2.2% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the U.S. With so many vehicles on the road, it’s not surprising that the percentage of fatalities of cyclists from motor vehicle accidents has gone up .7% over the last 10 years – mainly because many drivers do not understand that they need to look out for bicyclists on city streets, as a result, they do not carefully examine their surroundings while driving.

Bicyclists are subject to extreme, life-threatening injuries if they are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. A driver has several tons of steel to protect themselves, but a bicyclist is alone on their bicycle without any added protection. This is why it is important for anyone, who has been injured in a bicycle accident, to contact a personal injury attorney immediately for the greater possibility of getting him/her the compensation he/she deserves. A bicycle accident victim should not be held responsible for paying thousands of dollars of medical bills and lost wages due to someone else’s negligence.

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