The use of bicycles for commuting is becoming more common in the United States each year. As communities adapt their roadways to this increasingly utilized mode of transportation, bicyclists remain at high risk of serious injury. Due to the disparate size between bicycles and other vehicles on the road, as well as the limited protection bicycle safety gear provides riders, bicyclists are more likely than other motorists to sustain serious injuries in a traffic accident. Lengthy hospital stays and years of rehabilitation can burden bicycle accident victims with millions of dollars in medical costs. Additionally, injuries sustained in a bicycle accident can affect the ability of a crash victim to function normally in their day-to-day life. As a result, bicycle accident victims may be entitled to significant recovery.
The U.S. National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2010, 618 pedacyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic accidents. An additional 52,000 pedacyclists were injured in similar accidents. According to the report, alcohol-involvement was reported in more than 34 percent of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedacyclist fatalities.
Much of the increase in cycling as a means of transportation derives from the use of bicycles to commute to and from the workplace. The U.S. National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reports that most bicycle fatalities occur during rush hour, between 4:00pm and 8:00pm. Thus, bicyclists are most at risk of being killed in a vehicular accident during the time period when they are most likely to be on the road.
The U.S. National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration provides the following tips for reducing bicyclist fatalities and injuries:
- Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators.
- Drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with bicyclists, allowing at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road.
- Vehicle operators should look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space.
- Vehicle operators should yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals.
If you or someone you know has been hurt or killed while cycling, call a Coweta County auto accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770)-484-8999 and ask to schedule a free legal consultation.