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Bicycle Safety

Reasons for Bicycle Crashes

  • Most bicycle accidents occur when a cyclist falls or crashes into a stationary object. Crashes are more likely to occur when adverse conditions occur related to:

    • Weather

    • Road conditions

    • Mechanical failure

    • Poor rider judgment

      • Excessive speed

      • Lack of attention

      • Breach of traffic regulations

      • Coordination problems

    • Inexperience
    • Weather

    • Road conditions

    • Mechanical failure

    • Poor rider judgment

      • Excessive speed

      • Lack of attention

      • Breach of traffic regulations

      • Coordination problems

    • Inexperience

  • Although the rules of the road and right of way are the same for both cyclists and motorists, other factors contribute to the disharmony that can occur between the 2 groups.

    • Many motor vehicle drivers are often simply not aware of the presence of a cyclist on the road.

    • In low-visibility conditions or at night bicyclists are difficult to see. The use of reflectors and a bicycle headlight gives you greater visibility to vehicle drivers.

  • Problems with alcohol can contribute to accidents.

    • Inappropriate alcohol use is not limited to motorists.

    • Almost 25% of traffic crashes that resulted in deaths of bicycle riders involved alcohol intoxication by the motorist or the bicyclist.

    • In 17-30% of all bicycle-related fatalities, it is the bicyclist who was intoxicated, not the motorist.

  • Nearly one-third of bicycle crashes occur when a bicyclist is riding against oncoming traffic.

  • Many people assume bicycle riding on sidewalks is safer than on roads. However, the risk of injury increases significantly if you ride on sidewalks.

    • This may be due to the presence of pedestrians and stationary objects (parking meters, for example) lining sidewalks as well as a preference by inexperienced bicyclists to use sidewalks for bicycle travel.

    • Another common scenario involves children who generally are experienced riders. They tend to crash while riding a bicycle for the first time or while riding a bike they are unfamiliar with.

Characteristics of Accident Victims

  • Most bicycle injuries occur to boys aged 10-14 years.

  • Although safety education often focuses on children, older bicyclists must remember that almost 70% of bicycle deaths involve adults.

    • Men account for almost 90% of all bicycle deaths, 7 times higher than rates for women.

    • Officials attribute this to males riding more than females.

  • In analyzing who is at fault for a collision, officials found the bicyclist responsible in half the cases and the motorist responsible in about one third. The remaining were attributed to both parties.

  • Younger cyclists who are not familiar with rules of the road are far more likely to cause and be involved in a serious accident. Some advocate that children younger than 8 years should not be allowed on public roads.

  • Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveal that most bicycle deaths occur during the summer months, and almost half the deaths occur between 3-9 pm.

    • The risk of sustaining an injury in non daylight conditions is 4 times greater than during daytime.

    • Almost 40% of bicycle-motor vehicle crashes occurred during low-light conditions when motorists had trouble seeing cyclists.

    • Bicycle deaths are almost equal throughout the weekdays or weekends.

    • More bicyclists are killed in urban areas than rural areas.

    • More than half of bicycle deaths occur on major roads; one third of deaths occur at an intersection.

    • One third of bicyclist fatalities occur on roads with speed limits of 55 mph or higher.

    • Typically, bicycle-motorist crashes occur within 1 mile of the bicyclist's home.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

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