Tips for Preventing Bicycle Accident Injuries and Fatalities
Many drivers have become acclimated to an automobile-centered lifestyle and fail to acknowledge the rights of bicyclists. Thousands of law-abiding cyclists are injured, and hundreds are killed, each year by negligent drivers.
In 2011, 677 pedalcyclists — which includes bicyclists and cyclists who ride two-wheel non-motorized vehicles, tricycles and unicycles powered solely by pedals — were killed, and an additional 48,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. The number of fatalities increased 9 percent between 2010 and 2011. This represents 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities and 2 percent of the people injured in traffic crashes during 2011. Gender appears to play a role in the statistics as well — 85 percent of pedalcyclists who were killed and 78 percent who were injured were male.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages everyone who uses the nation’s roadways to be respectful and to create a safer transportation environment. In this regard, it has issued some important safety reminders regarding bicyclists:
- Bicyclists should wear properly fitted helmets whenever they ride. It is the best way to prevent head injuries in the event of a crash.
- Bicyclists must obey the same rules of the road applying to other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals and lane markings.
- Bicyclists should make themselves more visible to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing and using lights and reflectors on all areas of the bike at night.
- Motor vehicle drivers must share the road with bicyclists and be courteous. Allow at least 3 feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road.
- Motor vehicle drivers should be aware of cyclists. Check for them before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space.
- Motor vehicle drivers should yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals. Watch out for cyclists when making turns.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed because of an accident with a motor vehicle, contact experienced New Jersey personal injury attorneys who can provide effective representation.