As an avid cyclist, your safety should always be a top priority. Bicycle accidents, bicycle injuries, and other forms of cycling accidents are unfortunate, with many factors contributing to this issue. Understanding these factors could prove pivotal in safeguarding your life and the lives of others. Together, we can reduce the number of bicycle accidents and serious injuries and promote a culture of safer cycling.
If you get into a bicycle accident or lost a loved one in a bicycling crash in Scranton, PA, you may need an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to help you with your claim. Contact the Scranton bicycle accident lawyers at Munley Law to schedule a free consultation.
What Are the Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Every time you mount your bicycle and hit the road, several potential risks could turn your healthy exercise or commuting choice into a deadly scenario. Identifying these risks is the first step toward accident prevention and guaranteeing bicycle safety.
Motor Vehicle Collisions
Most often, fatal bicycle accidents are the result of collisions with motor vehicles. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bicyclists killed while riding a bike accounted for approximately 2% of total traffic fatalities. Drivers often fail to see cyclists, especially in poor light conditions, at intersections, and sometimes, even when passing bike lanes.
Another common cause of bicycle accidents is distracted cycling. The rise of mobile technology within the past decade means more cyclists who, like many drivers, may be tempted to check messages or take calls while on the road. Remember, a single moment of inattention could have severe consequences and fatalities.
Poor Visibility and Nighttime Cycling
Riding your bicycle at night, or at any time when rider visibility is lessened, increases your risk of a fatal accident. The NHTSA reports that nearly half of all accidents with bicycles are with serious injuries and all bicycle deaths occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., especially in dark rural areas. Always ensure you are visible to oncoming traffic by using front and rear lights and wearing reflective gear.
Cycling recklessly or not obeying traffic rules can lead to bicycle accidents and cyclist fatalities too. Cycling against the flow of traffic, failing to signal, or ignoring stop signs are all examples of such behavior. Respect for traffic laws is as critical for cyclists as it is for pedestrians, drivers, and motorists.
Bicycle Equipment Failure
Mechanical or equipment failure can also cause serious bicycle accidents. Regular bicycle maintenance and safety checks – paying particular attention to the brakes and tires – can prevent such serious bicycle accidents and mishaps.
Lack of Protective Equipment
Finally, bike riders not wearing the proper protective gear increases the riders’ risk of fatality in the event of an accident. A report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that helmet usage can reduce the riders’ probability of serious head injury by 50%.
With the various risks associated with cycling, you might be wondering, what is the leading cause of these crashes and cycling deaths? The answer is clear after meticulous analysis of data from credible sources such as the NHTSA. Having added safety features on bicycles is not a bad idea, and can be a positive for bikers.
What Makes Cycling So Dangerous in Scranton, PA?
The most significant danger to your safety as a cyclist comes from vehicles, such as cars and trucks, on the road with you. NHTSA’s data reveals that a majority of cyclists deaths are a result of collisions with motor vehicles. The problem is so prevalent in cities like Scranton that it accounts for approximately 30% of all cycling-related deaths.
Cycling in traffic requires a heightened sense of awareness. You might be following all the various bicycle safety guidelines, wearing your helmet, using bike lights, paying attention, and following traffic laws to the tee, yet still, find yourself at risk. Why is this the case?
One key factor in crashes with cyclists is driver negligence or inattention. Motorists often overlook cyclists or misjudge their speed and distance, leading to crashes. Distractions, such as using a cell phone while driving, further exacerbate the issue of traffic crashes and cyclist deaths.
The crash threat multiplies at intersections. These intersections are hotspots for accidents, as drivers turning right or left may fail to notice a cyclist. Even parked cars pose a threat, with “dooring” accidents – where a driver or passenger opens a car door into a cyclist’s path, including protected bike lanes – being a common occurrence in cities.
Additionally, the severity of injuries in a bicycle and vehicle collision is often a lot higher due to the major size and weight difference. As a cyclist, you have little to no protection against a vehicle weighing over a ton.
While understanding the leading causes of bicycle deaths is essential, knowing how to mitigate these risks is equally important for bicyclists. Here are some effective strategies you can adopt to enhance your safety on the road.
How Can Cyclists Protect Themselves?
Follow all traffic laws applicable to riders, from signaling your intentions to wearing a helmet. Remember, these laws are in place for your protection. Lobby for stronger regulations and enforcement of bike infrastructure in city streets and areas of cities where bike safety laws seem inadequate.
Always wear a helmet when you’re on your bike. According to the IIHS, helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by half. Additionally, make yourself visible with bright clothing and reflective gear, especially when riding in poor light conditions.
Responsible Cycling Behavior
Avoid risky behavior such as cycling against traffic, not signaling your intentions, or using your phone while on the move. Be predictable to other cyclists, pedestrians, and road users, making anticipating your actions easier. If there is a bike lane, make sure to use the lane instead of the sidewalk or city street.
Equip your bicycle with front and rear lights, and use them even during daylight hours to increase your visibility. At night, wear reflective clothing and use additional lights if possible.
How Our Scranton Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
Navigating the nation’s roads on your bicycle should be a fun experience, not a risky one. You have the power to significantly mitigate these risks by adhering to safety guidelines, using protective gear, and maintaining your bicycle appropriately. Always remember, your safety and that of others hinge largely on understanding these risks and adopting proactive measures.
If you were involved in a bicycle accident, our Scranton bicycle accident lawyer is here to help. Contact Munley Law today to schedule a free consultation. There is no fee until we win your case.
Scranton Practice Areas
227 Penn Ave,
Scranton, PA 18503