While we are still in the throws of winter’s grip, it wont be long before Indiana roads are filled with bicyclists ready to take advantage of a warm spring. With the increased bike traffic comes increased risk for injury and death.
One significant factor in this danger is the increasingly hostile traffic conditions for bicyclists. In 2013, federal authorities recorded an increase in the number of people killed in bicycle accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found an increase of 1.2% in bicycle fatalities in 2013. While 734 bicyclists were killed in 2012, the number jumped to 743 in 2013.
The increase in bicycle fatalities is even more alarming because the number of bicyclists being killed in accidents had previously dropped consistently between 1975 and 2010. However, authorities note an up-tick between 2010 and 2012, with the number of bicycle fatalities climbing by 16% annually.
One important factor that emerged from an analysis of data is the increase in the number of bicycle accident fatalities that occurred in urban areas. Those fatalities increased from 50% in 1975, to 69% in 2012. That increase also coincided with an increase in the bicycling population in urban areas, including Indianapolis. People have turned to bicycling for workplace commutes, and that means more bicyclists competing with motorists for space on already congested roads.
The average age of riders injured and killed is another disturbing fact that emerged from the analysis. In 2012, 84% of all bicycle accident fatalities were adults, and out of the, 74% were adult males. Back in 1975, just 21% of victims were adults. Large warm-weather states like California, Texas and Florida, constituted the highest increase in bicycle accident fatalities. In fact, those three states along with New York, accounted for more than 50% of the total bicycle fatalities between 2010 and 2012.
Indianapolis has created new bike lanes on already busy streets and the increased number of people bicycling to and from work has contributed to higher fatalities nation wide. Bicycling to work began as a trend during the recession when gas prices were fluctuating, and many were either out of work or were in fear of losing their jobs. For far too many people that workplace commute turns into a possibly fatal accident.
If you are a motorist, make space for bicyclists on the road. Look out for bicyclists, especially at intersections. Yield to bicyclists and avoid turning right in front of bicyclists. With so many riders on Indiana streets, there is no excuse for motorists to fail to look out for bicyclists sharing the roads with them.
The Indiana bicycle accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in bicycle accidents across Indiana.