Road bicycling is getting increasingly popular. As the number of bicyclists rises, so does the number of bicycle-related road accidents in the United States.
While modern cities and infrastructures are designed to follow road safety measures, two-wheelers are typically less protected than others in a collision. Until a universal sense of responsibility and awareness develops in all motorists, bicycling will be a risky for both bicyclists and motorists.
What is Statistically Safer, Driving a Car or Riding a Bicycle?
Just like anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to bicycle commutes. The risks depend upon your environment, road maintenance status, and other motorists.
Statistics show that the number of bicycle-related accidents is steadily on the rise since 2012. Approximately, more than 750 people die in bicycle accidents every year in the United States. Although the number of bicycle accidents is less than motor vehicle accidents, the fatality index demonstrates more risk for bicyclists.
Bicyclists are armed only with helmets for the most part. Meanwhile, motorists typically sustain less-lethal injuries because of seatbelts, heavy bumpers, or airbags. Even if the number of bicycle accidents is much lower than car accidents, each fall or crash can be deadly.
With the rise of texting and smartphone usage, drivers across the United States are more distracted than ever. In most bicycle-motor crashes, the motorists have been failing to pay attention or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Call it negligence or ignorance, most motorists and riders are unaware of road safety features and traffic rules. Negligence caused by failing to obey the right of way at intersections and roadways is a common reason behind accidents.
Bicyclists are more vulnerable and inexperienced bicyclists are less conscious about safety. As they have little to protect them, bicyclists need to be more cautious while riding. A bicyclist’s reckless behavior, inattention or distraction caused by smartphones, headphones, sudden moves into the crossways, and riding outside of the bicycle lane are common reasons for bicycle accidents.
A large number of all bicycle-related accidents happen because of poor maintenance and rough road quality of the bike lanes and roadways.
Unfortunately, more than 50 percent of the accidents occur in the dark hours, especially in foggy winters when days get shorter and nights fall longer. . As road visibility is low at night, bicyclists become more vulnerable to accidents even with reflective gear.
Who Is at Fault—Bicyclist or Driver? Liability for Bicycle Accidents at Intersections
A bicycle is typically deemed as a “vehicle” and just like the car drivers, cyclists are also expected to act responsibly on the roads. In most car-bike accidents, liability is held on the basis of “right of way.” In most cases, liability is shared by both the parties, but if a motorist’s defense is strong in the court that signal was in his favor thus granting him the “right of way,” the cyclist can be held for violating traffic rules. That’s why seeking an expert bicycle accident attorney’s help at the onset of your case is crucial. If the cyclist wants to prove the motorist at fault, he or she must present evidence of negligence.
Bicycling Rules in the United States
Like a motorist, a cyclist also has to follow the rules of the road: