Rising gas prices have led to an increased in bicycle use around the country. Unfortunately, that trend has led
to an increase in bicycle accidents as well.
Statistics are not available for the current year, but bicycle traffic is up dramatically in Massachusetts
metropolitan areas. In other areas, there is an increase as well. For example, in one California city, bicycle traffic was up 14% but accidents increased by 40%. Fatal accidents in Chicago and New Jersey were also noted to be
significantly increased this year.
The most recent crash statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHSTA), through 2005, indicate that the highest rates of injury are in the 10-19 year old range, but the highest rate of fatalities is in males 35-54. Death rates were approaching historical highs in 2005. The most common causes of bicycle accidents are left-turning vehicles which fail to yield the right of way, and vehicles which overtake a cyclist, and then turn in front of the cyclist.
In a city like Boston, where bicycle transportation has historically received little attention from transportation officials, Mayor Menino has promised to make Boston more bicycle-friendly. This means the city will be adding more bike lanes to major streets. But Boston has a long ways to go, if the ratings from Bicycling Magazine are any indication. Boston has been rated the worst city for bicycling for three years. Mayor Menino’s promise is to move Boston to the “Best” column for cyclists.
Causes of accidents are typically attributed to inattentive drivers, who simply fail to see a cyclist, or fail to appreciate the fact that the cyclist may be traveling faster than expected. Worse, some drivers react aggressively around cyclists. With the obvious mismatch between a vehicle and a bicycle, it is easy to see how a cyclist can become the victim of road rage.
On the other hand, police say that inexperienced cyclists, and cyclist who fail to follow the rules of the road,
also contribute to the increase in accident rates.
Bicycle accidents can, of course, be extremely serious. The bicyclist is no match for a motor vehicle, and
injuries can range from road rash, to severe fractures, to wrongful death fromthe bicycle accident.
Massachusetts bicyclists who are injured because of a collision with a motor vehicle are entitled to no-fault
insurance, which is also known as PIP. If the motorist was at fault, then the bicyclist is entitled to recovery from personal injuries and for property damage.
Handling bicycle accident cases is just one of our specialties. We have handled dozens of bicycle accident cases. We have a clear understanding of the many factors which contribute to bicycle accidents, and we have thorough knowledge of the law. Please feel free to contact us if you have been injured in a bicycle accident.
“Daily tensionon the roads — cars vs. bikes,” MSNBC
“Traffic Safety Facts: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists,” NHTSA
“A future best city: Boston,” Bicycling Magazine.
“Pedalpushing: Menino mounting bid to make city a bicyclist’s dream,” Boston