Cyclist Traffic Injuries and Fatalities on the Rise

Nationwide Bicycle Accident Lawyers

More adults across the country are strapping on helmets and hopping on bikes to get to work or for recreational purposes. That’s good news for people’s hearts and waistlines, but it also means more visits to the emergency room or worse.

Hospital admissions due to cycling injuries related to motor vehicles more than doubled between 1998 and 2013, doctors reported in the journal of the American Medical Association. This rise was the biggest with riders ages 45 and over. Another study, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found a similar trend with bicycle related deaths: while the death rate among child cyclists and vehicle accidents has plummeted in the past four decades, the mortality rate among cyclists ages 35 to 54 has tripled.

It isn’t clear what’s driving the surge in cyclist accidents among Generation Xers and baby boomers, but one reason could be what’s known as the “Lance Armstrong effect.” After Lance Armstrong had all of his success at the Tour de France, more people started taking up cycling as a sport. The most recent National Household Travel Survey showed that the vast majority of the increase in bicycling between 1995 and 2013 came from Americans older than 25, with the biggest increases coming from men in their 30s, 40, 50s and 60s on road bikes, riding at high speeds — a recipe for serious injuries or possibly even death.

So, what can be done to keep riders in this age group safe? Basic safety precautions are absolutely essential. Wear a helmet and reflective gear, have lights for night riding, and ride defensively and responsibly. But even that might not be enough, says Jason Vargo, who leads urban planning at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and led the recent study on bicycle deaths. He says that society also needs to change the definition of what a road is in order to implicitly include cyclists. Some cities like Madison, San Francisco, Austin and Portland are starting to do a better job at making roads more cyclist and commuter friendly. “They’re slowing down speeds on biking routes, adding protective lanes just for cyclists and using different-colored paint to mark shoulders and
lanes,” Vargo says.

But at the end of the day, reducing cyclist related car accidents may boil down to something much simpler: Making sure that cyclists know the rules of the road and that drivers know how to deal with them. Sharing the road and respecting traffic laws for both cyclist and driver will go a long way in preventing injuries and fatalities. Traffic laws that apply to cars also apply to cyclists, including stopping at red lights, maintaining a distance between vehicles and using proper signaling for turning or stopping.

If you have been injured in a cycling related injury or lost a loved one due to a vehicle related accident, contact our Personal Injury lawyers on advice about pursuing an injury or wrongful death claim. We have offices across Texas, Colorado, and Arizona including Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, Corpus Christi, Houston, Midland, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Tucson and are dedicated to helping the victims of personal injuries.