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A Surge in Deadly Biking Accidents

September 8, 2017 Blog

Deaths amongst bicyclists rose 12.2% in 2015, a higher percentage increase than among any other road user group that year. Read More

According to a recent study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the average age of those who died in a bicycle accident was 45 and 85% were male. More adults are hopping on their bikes and pedaling to work, which is a positive trend, but it also means more deaths and visits to the emergency room. Read More

“We need to ensure that bicyclists and motorists can share roads safely,” said Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm, which funded the GHSA study. “Unfortunately, bicyclists are vulnerable and much more susceptible to serious injury or death when on the roads with vehicles. That’s why it is so critical that we examine the factors surrounding these crashes and leverage a variety of proven tools to improve bicyclist safety nationwide.”

A common theme in many of bike crashes: the motorist often fails to see the bicyclist, while the bicyclist expects the driver to give way and is unable to stop in time to avoid a crash. This illustrates the need for all people to pay attention to their surroundings whenever they take to the road.

The report found these circumstances were most commonly involved in fatal crashes:
· A motorist overtakes a bicyclist traveling in the same direction.
· A motorist turns right or left into the path of a bicyclist going in the same or opposite direction.
· A motorist drives straight and a bicyclist comes from the right or left.
· A motorist drives into the roadway from a driveway, side street, alley, or parking lot.
· A bicyclist rides in the wrong direction.
· A motorist opens the car door directly in front of a bicyclist often referred to as dooring.
· A bicyclist is not visible due to an obstruction or in darkness due to a lack of lighting.
· A bicyclist and/or motorist misjudge the passing distance between their respective vehicles.
· A bicyclist and/or motorist fail to obey the rules of the road and/or a traffic control device.

The report offers 30 steps it says would help state highway safety officials improve bicycle safety, including improving data collection methods, better training for law enforcement to understand laws designed to protect bicyclists, and partnering with bicycle and community organizations. Read More

An expert panel of state and federal officials, researchers and bicycle safety advocates served as advisors for the GHSA report.