A new study that was published in the journal Injury Prevention has found that the cost of bicycle accident injuries and deaths have dramatically increased in recent decades. According to a report on MedPage Today, the change may be attributed to an overall increase in cycling and specifically, the increase in the number of older riders, who are more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries.
What the Study Found
The study was conducted by researchers with the University of California San Francisco who analyzed data collected from 1997 through 2013 from various sources. They found that during this time, there were 3.8 million non-fatal bicycle accidents and 8,839 related deaths. The $24 billion annual cost of these accidents in 2013 had increased 140 percent from 9.3 billion in 1997 and is almost twice the cost of workplace injuries in the U.S., according to the study’s authors.
Riders who were 45 years and older accounted for 26 percent of all costs in 1997. But that number more than doubled to 54 percent in 2013. This is because older riders are riding more frequently these days and are more likely to have underlying health conditions, which translate to longer recovery periods if they are injured in a bicycle accident. The total number of deaths increased from 588 in 1999 to 855 in 2013.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Under New York law, bicyclists have the same rights as drivers of other vehicles. However, it is fairly common to see bicycle accidents that occur as the result of motorists’ recklessness, negligence or failure to observe the rules of the road. A number of these types of accidents occur because motorists don’t often remember that they share the roadway with bicyclists. Here are some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents by drivers of motor vehicles that result in serious or fatal injuries.
• Driving at an excessive rate of speed or at a speed that is hazardous.
• Making an unsafe turn.
• Failing to yield the right of way to bicyclists.
• Running a red light or a stop sign.
• Driving while distracted or inattentive
• Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
• Intruding into a bike lane.
• “Dooring” or opening a car door without paying attention to an oncoming bicyclist. When this happens, bicyclists collide with the open door and fall down on the street or may get thrown into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Tips for Drivers
Since a number of bicycle accidents are caused by driver negligence, it is helpful for motorists to be aware of laws pertaining to bicyclists. First, bicycles are allowed the use of a full lane when it’s unsafe for them to ride on the bike lane or the right side of the street. They may be forced to use the full lane due to a variety of hazardous conditions such as low shoulders, parked delivery vehicles, open car doors, etc.
If you encounter a bicycle in your traffic lane, be cautious and patient and understand that the rider had the right to be there. Keep in mind that your car is much heavier and much more powerful than a bicycle and may do a lot of damage. Be careful when you make a right turn. Also, be very careful when you open your door. Be extra cautious when you pass a cyclist. When you are driving at night, keep an eye out for bicycle reflectors and blinking lights.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
For over 45 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck while outside of the crosswalk, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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