A report released last month regarding cyclist safety has prompted significant outcry in the media and among public advocates. The report, published by the Governors Highway Safety Association, noted that the number of bicyclists killed on the road is steadily increasing, with adult males and urban settings seeing the most deaths. Bike injury lawyersat Pintas & Mullins Law Firm delve further into this report and its findings.
The report, Spotlight on Highway Safety: Bicyclist Safety includes an analysis of current and historical fatality data in bicycle crashes. Among its findings, the authors found that nearly two-thirds of those killed in bicycling accidents in 2012 were adult males, and out of all fatal accidents, about 70% occur in urban environments.
Reinforcing this urban phenomenon, the report found that six states in particular represented the majority of all cycling fatalities. Those six states are: Illinois, California, Florida, Michigan, New York and Texas. These are the highest population states with the largest urban centers in the country.
Understandably, this report set of a media firestorm, mostly regarding the great drivers vs. bikers debate (to read more about this, check out Adam Mann’s post on Wired). Despite the arguments on both sides claiming rights to the road, there are some parts of this report that need to be illuminated and that speak to both bikers and drivers.
First, that the only pieces of biker fatality data that have remained static throughout the years are the lack of helmet use, alcohol impairment, and the demographic of adult males being most affected. The percentage of fatal accidents involving bicyclists with a BAC over the legal limit has remain unchanged since the 1980s – even when alcohol-impaired driving accidents dropped substantially, impaired biking remains static.
In 2012, at least 75% of all fatally injured bicyclists were not wearing helmets. Even while wearing a helmet, collisions can still cause extensive damage. Bono, the lead singer of U2, was recently involved in a crash in NYC’s Central Park when he swerved to avoid another cyclist.
It was a high-speed crash, and he was rushed to a nearby hospital to operate for multiple injuries, including fractures on his left shoulder blade, humerus bone and pinky finger, along with a facial fracture to his left eye orbital bone. He required a five-hour surgery and was implanted with 18 screws and three metal plates. He will require extensive progressive therapy, though he is expected to fully recover.
Bicyclists are vulnerable to begin with. They are trying to get from one place to another at fast speeds and are protected by nothing except the clothes on their back and, one hopes, the piece of plastic on their head. In urban settings, and particularly in places like Chicago and New York, the vulnerability is amplified immensely.
According to the Chicago Streets Blog, at least eight bicyclists have died so far in 2014 in the city. That is, already, twice as many as in 2013. There have been thousands of injuries; and a 78-year-old man who was hit while riding in Lakeview in September just passed away last week. He was struck from behind by a 90-year-old man in a Mazda sedan. The driver was cited for failing to reduce speed to prevent a crash.
Our team of bicycle accident lawyers has seen Chicago take great strides toward making the city safer for bicyclists, but there are still far too many crashes, injuries and deaths on our roadways. We handle cases of serious injury and death resulting from bicycle crashes across the country. If you or someone you love was recently involved in a serious accident, contact our firm immediately. Our legal consultations are always free and confidential.