Bike riding is great exercise, and regularly riding, such as for commuting or running errands can do a lot to save money and the environment. But biking has its dangers too. Bike riders are far more exposed to the outside world and vulnerable to injury than those who confined to traditional motor vehicles. While many strive to make bike riding safe for kids, it turns out that the mist vulnerable group is adult male bike riders over age 20. In 2014, data from the U.S. Department of Transportation revealed that 551 adult male riders over age 20 were killed on bicycles due to a crash involving a motor vehicle in 2014, roughly five times higher than males under 20, with an even bigger gap between women and girls who ride their bikes. Although statistics between women and girl bike riders are not as dramatic, recent years have also seen an increase in women over 20 who are killed in bike/motor vehicle crashes.
Recognizing A Danger
Because of the growing concern, thirty-six states have enacted safe passing laws that identify those traveling by bicycle as a vulnerable road user, along with pedestrians and those in motorized wheel chairs. Penalties for violating the law vary, but can include both fines and jail time. Even with laws and recent events lending attention to cyclists, many drivers are simply not watching for them.
Many of efforts made on the local, state, and national levels for bike safety have been aimed toward child riders, and as a result fewer children are being seriously injured on killed in bike crashes. Parents and community members in general are more likely to enforce safety regulations with kids as well as practices such as regularly wearing a helmet, protective gear, and reflective gear — especially at night. Children are also more likely to be riding casually around their neighborhoods up and down side streets, sidewalks, or designated bike paths. Adult bike commuters are more likely to ride in heavy traffic, often without protective gear.
Treating Your Bicycle Like A Vehicle – To A Point
Those who ride their bicycle among traffic need to conduct themselves in a way that is similar to other vehicles and follow the basic rules of the road, such as riding on the right side of the road along with traffic and obeying signs, signals, and lane markings. When appropriate, they should be ready to yield to other traffic and keep a safe distance between themselves and other vehicles.
While it is far from fair or right for a traditional motor vehicle to disregard the presence of bicycles or fail to stop if there is a crash, the reality is that this happens all too frequently. If you have done your part to keep yourself safe on your bike, but have still been injured, or have had a loved one fatally injured in such a crash, it is important to get someone on your side who will see that you are compensated for medical and other life expenses that are a direct result from those injuries. If you’ve had this type of experience, a personal injury attorney can help you sort through the aftermath and move forward with your life.