Distracted Driving Has Changed the Meaning of Responsible Bicycling
On August 10th, Press of Atlantic City featured an interesting article titled “For bicyclists, distracted driving means ride responsibly or die.” The article discusses how fatal traffic accidents involving bicyclists have been on the rise in the past few years since smartphones and complex car electronics arrived.
All you need to do is look at the statistics to see how things have changed: In 1975, motor vehicle crashes killed 1,003 cyclists. Improvements in highway safety brought that down to 621 in 2010. That goes back up in 2015, when crashes kill 817 bicyclists, a 32 percent increase in five years.
While the behaviors discussed below have always been an issue, distracted driving has arguably elevated the issue to a crisis, even as streets are more hospitable than ever to bicycle commuters. Until we as a society are better able to combat distracted driving, bicyclists can avoid the behaviors discussed below to best protect themselves on the road:
In most bicyclist accidents, the most serious injuries are always to the head. Wearing a helmet reportedly reducing the chances of obtaining a head injury by 50 percent according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In just the last few years, 17 percent of all cyclists weren’t wearing helmets.
Lights & High Visibility
Unfortunately, that isn’t the only high-risk cycling behavior: riding at dusk or dark (i.e. from six to nine o’clock pm) without lights bikes accounts for a quarter of all fatalities. Visibility is crucial for all cyclists, especially now that distracted driving has entered the equation, sometimes even necessitating wearing bright clothes in addition to lights.
Riding Against Traffic
Cyclists also need to be careful about riding against the flow of traffic under the assumption that they will be better able to avoid collisions if they can see the cars approaching. Unfortunately, this practice tends to increase both the speed of the car and the bike, and also makes it difficult for the driver to expect or look for cyclists when making turns or entering roadways.
Cycling Under the Influence
As a society, we’ve focused DWI campaigns on not driving a car under the influence. However, in 2015, 23 percent of bicyclists killed over the age of 16 had blood alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent. We need to better communicate with the public about this additional risk.
Bicyclists aren’t the only ones getting injured on the road: pedestrians in crosswalks are also, at times, getting severely injured by cyclists.
Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyers
At Friedland & Associates, we fight for injured bicyclists, as well as others injured on the road. We fight for the physical, emotional and financial compensation that the bicyclist or pedestrian needs in order to properly recover.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a bicycle due someone else’s negligence, contact us today to find out how we can help.