Cyclists Are Facing More Danger Than Ever On America’s Roadways
Deaths on United States roadways experienced a decade-long decline which has now come to a close. Due to higher gas prices, fewer motorists were taking to the road, leading to lower fatal accident cases that kept dropping for an extended period. In the past two years, however, as gas prices have begun to drop, this trend has regretfully come to a close. This doesn’t only speak for car versus car crashes, and roadways have become deadlier for cyclists as well. As a matter of fact, cyclist deaths have increased at a higher rate than motorists, walkers, or any other user of the road.
2015 is the most recent year with reliable data, and this data showed a 12.2% increase in cyclist deaths from 2014. In 2014 726 cyclist deaths were reported across the United States, only to be met with 818 in 2015. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 2015 was the deadliest year for cyclists on the road since the year 1995 – 20 years earlier. On average, an additional 55 cyclists are involved in a fatal accident each year since 2011.
Who Is Most Likely To Be Affected?
Decades ago, it was children and teenagers who made up the bulk of cyclists on roadways. However, this trend is changing, and today it’s most adults finding themselves in these devastating accidents. The average age of cyclists in fatal accidents in 2015 was 45, and 85% of them were men. Compared to decades prior, 786 cyclists involved in fatal accidents in 1975 were under the age of 20, while just 212 were over the 20-year age limit. 40 years later in 2015, 720 deaths were cyclists over the age of 20 while just 91 were under the 20-year age limit.
Simply put, there are also more adults cycling today than there were many years ago. A desire to curb one’s carbon footprint, attempting to stay healthy and fit, and commuting within big cities are cited as major reasons why more adult cyclists are hitting the road then ever before. While cycling may have been considered a leisure activity for young people decades ago, it’s now considered a major way to commute throughout everyday life. While living in cities or busy environments, cycling where you need to go eliminates the need to find parking, eliminates getting stuck in traffic jams, and gives you more freedom in getting to where you need to go.
What Causes These Accidents?
If everyone is following the rules of the road, these accidents should not occur – at least in theory. Accidents aren’t always quite this simple, and researchers have found that most fatalities are caused when drivers are unable to see cyclists on the road until it’s too late. The second biggest cause of fatalities were due to cyclists expecting drivers to yield, and those drivers not being able to stop in time to avoid a collision.
With more and more cyclists hitting the road these days, it’s important for drivers to have a refresher course regarding the rules of the road. State highway safety agencies all throughout the United States are focusing on educating people regarding sharing the road with cyclists, and engineering new road designs that increase safety for cyclists and drivers alike.
When riding a bicycle, getting into an accident can become catastrophic very quickly. Unlike motor vehicle accidents, when both parties are protected by the exterior of their car, it’s a person with little to no protection coming into contact with a vehicle’s steel exterior. If you’ve been in a bicycle accident, it’s important to have a bicycle accident attorney on your side.