Study Finds Bicycle Fatalities Spike 16% as More Riders Hit the Road

Bike riding has never been more popular in America, and fatalities due to cycling accidents have spiked as a result, according to a study released November 3rd by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The study reported an increase of 16% in bicycling fatalities between 2010 and 2012 while motor vehicle deaths only rose 1% in the same time span.  In 2010, accidents involving bicyclists and motor vehicles resulted in the deaths of 621 cyclists. 2011 saw 680 cyclists die in crashes with motor vehicles, and the death count jumped to 722 in 2012, an increase of 16 percent.

How can we keep New York bicyclists safe?

The study pointed out that many large cities across the US such as Chicago, New York, Portland, Washington DC, and San Francisco are encouraging bicycling for health and environmental benefits. Bicycling as a means of commuting can also help relieve crowded urban centers already choked with cars and trucks. However, the spike in fatalities correlates with a surge of more than 60% in bicycle commuting since 2000. The age of bicyclists being involved in fatal crashes has also seen a marked increase lending credence to the commuting aspect. In 1975, adults were involved in 21% of fatal accidents involving motor vehicles. In 2012, adults 20 and over made up 84% of the fatal accidents.

Fatal NY bike accidents 4th highest in nation

California and Florida had far and away the highest number of fatalities over the 2010-2012 span in the study with 338 and 209 deaths respectively. Texas had 145 fatalities followed closely by New York with 138. Car driver error accounts for the vast majority of bicycle accidents. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, over 6,000 bicycle/motor vehicle crashes took place in 2011. 57 cyclists were killed as a result, while 5,883 cyclists were injured in New York.

Other disturbing statistics emerged in the study. Nationwide, more than 1 in 4 adults killed on bicycles were found to be operating while alcohol-impaired. Even worse, more than two-thirds of all fatally injured bicycle riders were not wearing helmets. These deaths were preventable by using common sense and following safe riding rules.

Even though there are laws governing the interaction of motor vehicles and bicyclists, the study pointed out that roads were not built to accommodate both motor vehicles and bicyclists safely. That however does not excuse the unsafe operation of either bikes or cars and trucks. Bicyclists must follow the same safe rules of the road as motor vehicles including traveling in the same directions. Motor vehicles are also required in certain jurisdictions to maintain a three foot buffer zone between the vehicle and the bicycle.

Advocacy from Long Island bicycle accident lawyers

The Long Island bicycle accident lawyers at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are veterans in the fight to protect the rights of bicyclists who have been injured in New York bike accidents because of the negligence or wrongdoing of other drivers.

We’ll help you through the post-accident confusion and questions. Do I have legal recourse for the financial uncertainties that come with being injured? Who was at fault? How can I prove it? How much time do I have to seek a legal remedy?

If you have suffered an injury in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, the clock is ticking on your right to pursue compensation. Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Edelman, Krasin and Jaye immediately at 1-800-469-7429 to schedule a free case review and protect your rights. You may be entitled to monetary damages for all related medical expenses, lost wages, emotional trauma and other non-economic losses.

We boast a long track record of successful verdicts and settlements involving New York bike accidents, and are ready to help you.

  1. Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, Helmet Related Statistics 
  2. National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, Bicycles