The COVID-19 pandemic impacted many areas of our lives. The pandemic seems to have caused a “bicycle renaissance” throughout the country as bicycling increased during the last year. Sadly, injuries and deaths from bicycle accidents continue to be a serious problem in many states.
About two percent of the motor vehicle fatalities each year are bicyclists. In 2019, 846 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents. That was a slight decrease from the 868 bicyclists who died in 2018. The number of bicyclist deaths has increased by 36 percent since 2010.
US News highlighted a new report by StreetLight regarding bicycle accidents in the United States. According to the report, Florida, California, and Texas have accounted for the highest number of bicyclist deaths in the past several years.
According to the information from StreetLight, many southern states are on the list of the most dangerous states for bicyclists. The organization analyzed the data for bicycle accidents. It compiled a list of dangerous states for bicyclists based on rider deaths per capita and miles traveled.
The most dangerous states for bicyclists, according to StreetLight, are:
- South Carolina
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
The top five states with the highest bicyclist fatalities per capita were Florida, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina, and New Mexico.
What Can We Do to Prevent Bicycle Accidents?
Knowing which states are the worst states for bicyclists based on cyclist fatalities is interesting. However, what can we do with that knowledge? How can we prevent bicycle accidents from happening throughout the country?
Motorist negligence is one of the most common causes of bicycle accidents. Drivers fail to yield the right of way to riders or crash into bicycles because of distracted driving or other negligent acts behind the wheel.
However, bicyclists must also take some responsibility for the cause of bicycle crashes. Distracted bicycling and failing to follow bicycle laws are two common causes of bicycle accidents. Riders need to pay attention to their surroundings and follow all traffic laws for bicycles.
Being aware of the problem is one way we can reduce the number of bicycle accidents. State and local governments can take steps to improve bicycle infrastructure and raise awareness of the dangers posed to bicyclists. Creating Complete Streets in neighborhoods and cities across America increases the safety of roads for all users.
Bicycle Safety Tips for Riders and Motorists
Some of the bicycle safety tips for cyclists that can reduce the risk of injury from bicycle accident include:
- Always wear a bicycle helmet to reduce the risk of a head injury from an accident
- Wear protective gear, including knee pads and elbow pads
- Make sure that your bicycle is always in good condition before each ride
- Wear brightly colored clothing and use lights and reflectors to increase visibility
- Always use hand signals to let drivers know of your intention to turn, slow down, or stop
- Learn and follow all traffic rules and bicycle laws for the area in which you are riding
- Ride with other cyclists whenever possible
- Teach children about bicycle safety
- Never ride a bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Pay attention to your surroundings and stay alert when riding a bicycle
Drivers also need to do their part to keep bicyclists safe. Slow down when approaching and passing a bicyclist. Remain alert and focused on the road so that you can see and recognize bicyclists who are sharing the road with you.
Avoiding dangerous driving habits, such as drunk driving, speeding, drowsy driving, reckless driving, and distracted driving, can significantly reduce the risk of a bicycle accident.
What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?
Prompt medical care is the first priority. Calling 911 to report the bicycle accident is the best way to request EMS and police assistance. Always report bicycle accidents to the police so that you have an official record of the accident.
After seeking medical care, seek legal advice. Bicyclists may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages. However, holding a motorist liable for a bicycle accident can be challenging. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer can guide you through the process of filing a claim, gathering evidence, documenting damages, and proving fault for a bicycle accident.
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