Since the start of the 21st century, the number of fatal bicycle accidents has steadily risen. In 2003, accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians only accounted for 12 percent of all fatalities. In 2017, the United States Department of Transportation found that more than 18 percent of motor vehicle fatalities were from pedestrians and cyclists. The majority of these fatalities occur at non-intersections in major cities.
Contributing Factors for Bike Accidents
A number of contributing environment factors increase the likelihood of cycling accidents on the roadways. Approximately 73 percent of roadway accidents with cyclists occur in urban areas. The time of day also impacts the number of reported bike accidents. Regardless of the season, the greatest numbers of fatalities occur between 6:00pm and 9:00pm.
Besides environmental factors, the age and gender of cyclists killed in traffic accidents has been studied. Over the past decade, the average age of the cyclist killed in traffic accidents has increased. In 2007, the average age of a cyclist killed on the roadway was 40. In 2016, the average age was 46 with the age group from 50 to 54 involved in the most fatal accidents. Children younger than 15 only attributed to 7 percent of all killed while riding their bicycles. Men are also more prone to serious bicycle accidents-more than 84 percent of all cycling fatalities in 2016 were men.
Safety Tips for Cyclists
Since transportation designs typically favor cars over bicycles, most roadways are deemed unsafe for bike riders. Many organizations are advocating for cities to include more bike lanes to prevent crashes. Until safer conditions are available, cyclists are urged to ride safely and abide by all local traffic rules.
According to Antymateria, a maker of custom bicycles, riders need to consider safety features when choosing their bikes. Bicycles with reflectors, speed controls, and a reliable braking system can help contribute to fewer road accidents. Day running lights and mirrors can be added to any road bike as an extra safety precaution. If any of the parts of the bicycle isn’t working properly, the owner should bring it in for service immediately. Safety gear is also an important part of reducing the seriousness of bicycle accidents, adds Antymateria. Safety equipment includes helmets, pads, and bright reflective clothing.
To decrease bike accidents and fatal crashes, motor vehicle operators are urged to share the road with cyclists. By giving bicycles plenty of clearance and yielding to them at intersections, roadways are made safer.