Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

bicycle-1846454_1920-300x200The Hoosier State is home to thousands of enthusiastic bicyclists; however, if you are a new to riding bikes, it’s important for you to be aware of basic safety measures that can help protect Indiana laws governing bicycling.

The first thing to know is that bicyclists in Indiana are subject to the same rules and regulations as any other person driving a vehicle on the roadways. Just because a bicycle rider is on the road, it does not give them carte blanche to disregard safety rules, or to place themselves or others at risk. It is important for riders to learn about bicycling rights and duties, and make sure that they follow all safety and traffic rules and regulations.

For instance, bicycling in groups can be great fun; however, while riding in a group, it’s important to know the best practice. Basic bicycle safety rules make it clear that persons riding more than two abreast increases the dangers for cyclists, except when riding on special bicycle paths that are meant exclusively for these bicyclists. Single file riding makes more room for passing cars and trucks and reduces the risks to bicycle riders.

bicycle helmetA bicycle helmet is critically important to bicyclist safety. Bicyclists are at a much higher risk of suffering injuries, especially head injuries in accidents, and wearing the right kind of bicycle helmet can play a critical role in determining whether a bicyclist survives his injuries, or succumbs to them.

Although, modern bicycle helmets are sleeker, lighter, stronger and sturdier than their counterparts of the past, the fact is that helmets can be made tougher and more durable to help protect the skull from severe impact during a bicycle accident. A group of inventors is launching a new Smart bike helmet that uses innovative technology to help bicyclists avoid accidents.

The Smart bike helmet has cameras that are located both in the front and back to scan the environment around a bicyclist. Information from around the environment is processed and sent to the bicyclist. The bicyclist is alerted when a car is approaching him from behind, or when a vehicle is in his blind spot. The helmet comes with red brake lights that turn on when it detects that the bicyclist is reducing speed.

bike%20up%20close.jpgThere has been an exciting increase in the number of bicyclists in Indiana, and bicycling has taken off as a recreational activity in the state. However, the state as a whole doesn’t provide bicyclists the kind of environment that they need to ride safely and enjoyably.

The League of American Bicyclists recently released a report in which it rated all 50 states, based on the bicycle-friendly environment that they provide. Unfortunately, Indiana was placed at number 37 on the list. The report was based on the state’s scores in five separate categories including legislation and enforcement, policies and programs, infrastructure, education, evaluation and planning. The highest a state could score was five, and the lowest was one. Indiana scored at a low two on all these measures, excluding education and encouragement in which it scored a three.

The report has several recommendations for Indiana transportation safety authorities to help promote a more bicycle-friendly environment in Indiana. One of the recommendations is to create a 3-foot bicycle passing law. This law and other versions of it are already in existence in several states across the country. It requires motorists to maintain a minimum of a 3-foot distance when they pass a bicycle. The report suggests a law like this for Indiana. There are currently several bills being considered by lawmakers that could actually make this law a reality.
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bike%20tire%200829.jpgBicycling is quite popular among Hoosiers, and Indiana cities are starting to see large numbers of bicyclists on the streets during the summer months. The riding isn’t just for pleasure. As more cities provide bicycle lanes, more and more are beginning to make cycling their choice of transportation for their daily commute to and from work. Those bicycling commuter numbers have increased steadily over the years. Unfortunately, that has also translated into a higher risk of bicycle accidents.

The data proves this. In 2010, 1,045 bicyclists were involved in accidents in Indiana. That is an increase of 7% from 2009, when 975 bicycle accidents were reported.

According to a new study, police accident reports fail to collect adequate and relevant information, especially considering the increasing numbers of bicyclists on our streets. The researchers believe that outdated police incident reporting forms have led to large amounts of significantly important data being lost, because important details are not being collected by police on these forms. This means a loss of an incredible amount of data that can be used to understand bicycle accidents, to identify the main causes of these accidents and implement strategies to eliminate accident causes.
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bike%2008377.jpgAs we’ve reported previously, the number of bicyclists in Indiana has increased significantly over the past decade and with this increase comes an increased risk of bicycle accidents. Over the past few years, bicycle safety initiatives have mainly focused on enhancing city and state infrastructure to help reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities. However, these efforts have not really focused on the role of motor vehicles in keeping bicyclists safer.

Thankfully, an increasing number of automakers are taking the initiative on this front. They are experimenting with technology that could help detect objects in the path of a car, thereby helping prevent many accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were a total of more than 3,300 bicycle accident fatalities between 2008 and 2012. Out of those, almost three-quarters of the fatalities occurred when a bicycle was hit a passenger vehicle.

A growing number of automakers are currently adding technology in their cars that would detect bicycles in their path. For instance, Volvo currently has technology on some of its models that detects pedestrians in the path of the motor vehicle. However, more advanced technology would specifically detect the back of another vehicle, including bikes, and prevent a potential accident. Accidents which involve a bicycle rider being stuck by behind are the most common types of accidents involving bicycles and have a high potential to cause injuries or fatalities. According to researchers, if this technology could be expanded to cover more vehicles, it could help significantly reduce the number of people being killed in bicycle accidents every year.
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bike%20chain%20076.jpgWhile 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.
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bike%20tire.jpgWith many Indiana children receiving bicycles for Christmas, it is a good time to consider one of the most important safety features to purchase with that new bike: A Helmet! Even as the number of people killed in auto and motorcycling accidents continues to drop, there has actually been an increase in the number of people killed in bicycle accidents. According to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, in 2012, there was a significant 16% increase in fatalities recorded across the country, compared to the previous year.

The report found that bicyclist fatalities in the United States increased from 621 deaths in 2010 to 680 deaths in 2011, and 722 deaths in 2012. During this same time period, there was a 1% increase in other types of accident fatalities. According to the report bicyclist fatalities have comprised approximately 2% of all accident fatalities across the country since 1975.

In Indiana, bicycle accident fatalities dropped in 2011, only to spike again in 2012: 13 bicycle accident fatalities occurred in 2010, with 11 accidents in 2011. However, in 2012 the number of accidents increased again to 15.
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bike%20tires.jpgContrary to popular belief, an increase in bicyclist numbers doesn’t, or should not, automatically lead to an increase in the number of bicycle accidents. Many countries in Europe have a stronger bicycle safety culture than ours. In fact, countries that have higher bicyclist numbers actually have better bicycle safety records.

An interesting new report titled Safety in Numbers was released recently by the European Cyclists Federation. The study has a number of intriguing findings for Indiana bicycle accident lawyers, and should be of interest to bicyclists in this state. Traditionally, transportation agencies blame increasing number of bicyclists for any increase in bicycle accident fatalities. According to them, when there is a spike in the population of bicyclists, it instantly translates into a higher risk of accidents.

The Safety in Numbers report, however, offers a number of examples to illustrate why this should not be so. According to the report, the Netherlands saw a 58% decrease in bicycle accident fatalities over a 25 year period, while it’s bicyclist numbers increased by approximately 45%.
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Line%20of%20Bikes.jpgBicycling around Indiana seems to have become more dangerous. There was an increase of 7% in the number of Indiana bicyclists involved in traffic accidents between 2009 and 2010. About 9% of these individuals suffered life-threatening injuries. Moreover, the statistics show that young bicyclists between the age of 8 and 20 accounted for a very high percentage of the number of bicyclists injured or killed in accidents.

The data comes from the Bicycle Collisions in Indiana report, which was based on research conducted by the Indiana University Center for Criminal Justice Research. The study found that the number of deaths associated with bicycle accidents in the state of Indiana increased from 7 in 2009 to 14 in 2010.

Bicyclists in 2010 were 6 times more likely to be killed in an accident than a motorist involved in an accident. They were also 17 times more likely to be killed in a hit-and-run accident. Bicyclists also seem to be at the receiving end when it comes to distracted driving by motorists. Bicyclists were up to 80 times more likely to be killed as a result of accidents involving distracted driving, than motorists.
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bike2.jpgIt is the right time to embrace the cause of bicycle safety in Indiana. There are more Hoosiers biking to work and for leisure than ever before. In fact, according to Bicycle Indiana, since 2007 alone, there has been an increase of 40% in the numbers of people biking to work in Indiana.

And why not? There are far too many incentives for Hoosiers not to take to bicycling. Biking helps save precious dollars on gas, and reduces your carbon footprint. With a massive oil blob the size of Delaware inching towards the Louisiana coastline, the need for promoting eco-friendly means of transportation is clearer than ever. Besides, with health experts warning of an obesity epidemic continuing into future generations of Americans, biking is a healthy lifestyle choice more Hoosiers should be encouraged to make.
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