Bicycling 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.
In Indianapolis, the highest number of bicycle accidents occurred around Michigan Ave., Indianapolis Cultural Trail, New York St. and the White River Greenway trails. Approximately 96% of all accidents occurred around bicycle trails in Indiana.
Last month, the League of American Bicyclists issued bicycle-safety report cards for all 50 states. The report card outlined not only the accomplishments of individual states in creating and fostering a bicycle-friendly culture, but also defined the areas in which improvements could be made. States were scored based on 5 indicators – Legislation and Enforcement, Policies and Programs, Infrastructure and Funding, Education and Encouragement, and Evaluation and Planning.
Indiana scored a 3 in Legislation and Enforcement and Education and Encouragement, and a 2 each in the other 3 indicators. The League of American Bicyclists had a lot of praise for Indiana’s bicycle education program for law-enforcement.
All is not lost as far as bicycle accident numbers are concerned. There can be improvements in reducing the number of accidents involving bicyclists. The League of American Bicyclists has recommended that Indiana implement a Complete Streets Policy, and pass a vulnerable road user law setting a minimum distance that motorists must maintain when they pass by bicyclists.
The League of American Bicyclists also recommends investing in a Share the Road campaign that specifically addresses the issues concerning bicyclists in Indiana. For instance, bicyclists in Indiana could be safer if motorists were made more aware of the right motoring practices around bicycle trails. The League also recommends that the state’s current bicycle plan be implemented fully.
The Indiana bicycle accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy represent persons injured in bicycle accidents across Indiana.