Bicycle accidents may not happen as much as motor vehicle accidents, but when one does occur, the injuries are more likely to be serious, if not fatal. Motorists are learning to share the road with cyclists, reducing the number of incidents, but it is still important to pay attention when on the road.
Whenever you are out biking, always remember that bicycles are considered vehicles and need to be operated as such. Obey the rules of the road, and keep in mind the circumstances that more typically lead to accidents.
What do these accidents have in common?
According to a 2015 PennDOT report, there are some recurring factors in many bicycles accidents:
- Children have a higher risk of injury on bicycles, but adults have a higher risk of a fatality in an accident. Most of the fatalities reported occurred in the 45- to 64-year-old demographic. Men have higher rates of injuries than women.
- Cyclists are more likely to be injured during the daytime, not in the evening or morning when lighting is poor. However, many accidents occur at night when cyclists are most difficult to see.
- Almost 61 percent of injuries occurred at intersections, but more fatalities occurred at non-intersection locations.
- More fatalities occurred on state highways than on city streets, but more injuries occurred on local streets and roads. No reported accidents happened on interstate highways, likely because cycling is prohibited on these roads.
In addition to these elements, most bike accidents are caused by other vehicles. In all of the bicycle accidents involving cars reported in 2015, an injury or fatality occurred, in addition to property damage. This suggests that one of the more dangerous situations for cyclists is when you are riding on the road.
To avoid problems when you take your bike on the street, always stay aware of the vehicles and motorists around you, and educate yourself about the steps you should take and the legal recourse available if you do happen to have an accident.