Bicycling is a great way to get in shape and stay healthy, save on gas money, and help the environment by reducing pollution. But distracted and aggressive drivers make biking a dangerous sport, especially on a busy road.
The good news is that severe bike accidents are decreasing due to bike groups advocating for betting infrastructure. Unfortunately, there’s still a potential for fatal accidents. Statistics show 45,000 reported bike accidents occurred in 2015, 5,000 down from a year prior, but the number of fatal accidents increased to over 12% between this time.
So, what’s your risk for getting into a bike accident? Read on to find out.
What Causes Bike Accidents?
Just with any vehicle-related accident, there are a lot of factors to take into account. Was the person biking on a busy road? Was the driver texting or talking on the phone? Advocacy for bikers in the United States is making bicycle education and accident prevention measures more widespread, helping us understand why these incidents occur:
- Biking at night: This is a significant issue seen with bikers, as half of reported bike accidents happen when it’s dark. Bikers who fail to wear appropriate gear and reflectors make it difficult for drivers to see them. Before you know it, drivers don’t see the bikers in time, resulting in a crash.
- Unsafe road conditions: Poor infrastructures, like roads and sidewalks, contribute to 13% of bike accidents. Although cities and towns are obligated to keep streets and sidewalks safe for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians, they’re not always in good condition.
- Distracted drivers: While safe driving laws and techniques are enforced across the country, not every driver abides by them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings cause 30% of bicycle accidents.
- Distracted bikers: Just like drivers, bikers can also become distracted, leading to collisions. But unlike drivers, bicyclists aren’t as protected when they get hit. It’s vital to be extremely aware of your surroundings when biking and avoid using any kind of technology.
- Aggressive drivers or drivers failing to yield: Drivers sometimes fail to yield oncoming bikers causing severe injury. Drivers must yield to bikers.
Bike accidents can happen anywhere at any time. The more severe ones come from riding around cities and towns with higher populations and limited bike-friendly infrastructure. If you plan on biking on main roads and busy areas, stay educated about what causes these accidents and always be aware of your surroundings.
Preventing Bike Accidents
Bicycle accidents can be devastating, but thankfully don’t happen as much as they used to. However, they can still happen to you or someone else, so it’s crucial to know how to prevent them.
A major step in preventing bike accidents is by creating safer infrastructure. Roads and sidewalks should be safe for drivers and pedestrians but also bicyclists. Some infrastructure efforts to prevent bike accidents are:
- Creating bike wayfinding signs
- Filling gaps between existing bike lanes
- Creating more bike lanes
- Creating bike lanes beside highways
- Implementing better and more useful bicycle parking facilities
Another way to prevent biking accidents is by education. Towns and cities can help their citizens by offering free educational materials to understand statistics, laws, and methods of safe biking.
By providing accessible education about biking, it could reduce accidents. Some ways to provide biking education are offering pamphlets and information on biking laws and statistics, scheduling local educational programs for adults and children, and creating bike safety courses.
Sometimes, not all accidents can be prevented. However, you can do your part by following your local laws, wearing reflective and protective gear, and maintaining awareness on the road.
Best Cities to Bike in
Knowing the best and safest places to bike is a great way to prevent bike accidents. Some of these cities have taken the initiative to implement better infrastructure, helping fellow pedestrians and bikers stay safe.
Cities with fewer people often see fewer bike accidents. Or, some cities like Portland, OR, created a massive bike overhaul for better traffic measures and biking facilities which can help reduce accidents.
Some of the best cities to bike in include:
- Seattle, WA
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Detroit, MI
- San Diego, CA
- Portland, OR
- Fort Worth, TX
- Indianapolis, IN
- Boston, MA
- Dallas, TX
- Fresno, CA
Bicycle advocacy has increased the education, awareness, and infrastructure of these cities. Installing better facilities for bikers is a significant component of why these cities are safer for biking.
Worst Cities to Bike in
While all cities should strive for better infrastructure and safe traffic measures, it can be difficult to accomplish. Bigger cities and highly populated areas can make it next to impossible to establish safer roads for bikers.
Bike accidents in urban areas have high frequency and severe injury rates, with 70% of accidents happening in a major city. Compared to suburban and rural towns with fewer people and more space, large cities are the most dangerous places to bike. A few of these cities include:
- Tucson, AZ
- San Jose, CA
- Las Vegas, NV
- Albuquerque, NM
- Phoenix, AZ
- Columbus, OH
- Memphis, TN
- San Francisco, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- Philadelphia, PA
A lot of these cities have seen an increase in bikers, leading to more biking accidents.
Should I Bike on Main Roads?
Making a choice to bike on main roads and sidewalks (cities, towns, etc.) all depends on what you’re comfortable with. Reflect on the preventive measures listed in this article and other facts about biking to help you decide where to bike.
Some things you can ask yourself before biking are the following:
- Do you have the correct gear for biking, such as reflectors and a helmet?
- Is your town, city, or suburb bicycle-friendly? Does their infrastructure support bike usage?
- Is your city one of the dangerous places to bike, such as the ones we mentioned?
Sometimes, biking in downtown settings or busy streets isn’t for everyone. If you’re leaning towards not biking on main roads, there are other great places to bike. Greenways, trails, and parks are wonderful places for a bike ride. Check out your local parks and trails that are bike-friendly.
If I Get into an Accident, What Are the Signs of a Serious Injury?
With any accident, it’s always best to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a serious injury. In the event you’re in a bike accident, there are some important symptoms to look out for. If you notice these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:
- Headache: If you’re experiencing a headache accompanied by vision changes or lack of consciences, you should seek immediate medical attention. This could be a sign of brain injury, especially if your helmet is broken, which can leave your head exposed to more damage.
- Numbness or tingling: If you have numbness or tingling throughout your extremities, you could have spine damage.
- Soreness or tenderness in your abdomen: These sensations could be a sign of internal bleeding, which requires immediate medical attention.
- Chest pain: Chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath could mean you’ve damaged your lungs or ribs.
These symptoms can be fatal if not immediately treated. However, if you get into an accident and you’re not experiencing these symptoms, it’s still recommended to schedule an appointment with your physician for a check-up.
Bike Accidents Increasing or Decreasing?
Overall, biking accidents are decreasing, but fatal ones are increasing. Why is this happening?
We see declining amounts of bike-related accidents in cities where bike education is encouraged. Thanks to more bike friendly infrastructure improvements and education, the frequency of accidents has decreased, but fatal accidents have increased. If fewer people are getting into biking accidents, why are fatal accidents increasing?
Sometimes, fatal accidents occur because:
- A lack of caution from both drivers and bikers when sharing the road
- Newer bikers are not as familiar with traffic laws and biking procedures
- Infrastructure in some areas is not up to speed with bicycle culture, leaving many to ride on unsafe roads and sidewalks
- Lack of education on behalf of city planners and the general population
Contact Us Today
Bicycle accidents are serious and can cause life-lasting impacts. If you’ve been involved in a biking accident, give Sadaka Associates – Litigation with Purpose a call today. We’ll walk you through your case and help you every step of the way.
Having legal representation for your case is essential, especially for personal injuries. We understand the hardships faced when it comes to accidents and their aftermath. Call the Sadaka Associates today at (1-800) 810-3457 for help with your personal injury case.