Most bicycle accident deaths are attributed to getting hit by a car. Other things that may lead to bicycle accident deaths include falling, hitting something on the road, poor roads, striking a fixed object, or swerving to avoid an animal.
However, getting hit by a car remains the most common cause of bicycle accidents and it tends to lead to fatalities. Since a bicycle is quite smaller than a car and the driver of a bicycle is most often unprotected, sometimes the consequence of a bicycle accident is death.
According to reports, bicycle trips represent just 1% of all trips in the United States. However, bicyclists account for over 2% of people who die in an accident involving a motor vehicle in the United States. Have in mind that bicyclists include cyclists and riders of two-wheel, non-motorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered only by pedals.
Thousands of bicyclists are injured or killed in the United States every year. Reports note that over 1,000 bicyclists die and over 130,000 are injured in accidents that happen on roads in the United States every year. The costs of bicycle injuries and deaths from crashes tend to exceed $23 billion in the United States each year.
These costs include healthcare-related expenses and lost work productivity, coupled with the estimated costs for lost quality of life. Note that the number of avoidable deaths from bicycle-related accidents increased 16% in 2020 and has increased 44% in the last 10 years, from 873 in 2011 to 1,260 in 2020.
Of the 1,260 bicyclist deaths in 2020, 806 died in motor-vehicle traffic crashes and 454 in other non-traffic incidents. Reports also have it that males represent about 89% of all bicycle deaths, over eight times the fatalities of females.
Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents and Deaths
Numerous factors play a role in a bike accident. However, note that some types of bicycle accidents are more common, contributing to more injuries and fatalities. These include:
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Driving Under the Influence
A good number of drivers, and not just cyclists, still claim to feel comfortable driving after drinking or taking drugs. Note that such callous action has led to and is still leading to many heartbreaking accidents. Have it in mind that drunk driving lessens a driver’s capacity to make sound decisions, and most crashes involving cyclists tend to happen due to driving or riding while under the influence.
Right Cross Collisions
This type of accident tends to happen when a vehicle pulls out of a street, driveway, parking lot, or alley to the right of a cyclist when the cyclist is already passing the vehicle. Also, note that this sort of accident can happen if the vehicle pulls out far enough to block the cyclist’s right of way so he or she cannot avoid the crash.
To prevent right cross collisions, cyclists are advised to always make themselves more visible to drivers with headlights and flashing lights during daytime hours and by waving, yelling, or making eye contact with the driver.
Not just for drivers, speeding also increases bicyclists stopping time while limiting the amount of time they have to make sound decisions on the road. While there is a great possibility that high-speed accidents result in severe (or even life-threatening) injuries, even accidents at relatively low speeds (e.g., if a driver is speeding in a residential neighborhood) can also be deadly for cyclists.
This is, without doubt, one of the prevalent causes of all types of vehicle collisions, including those involving bicycles. Note that when drivers are paying more attention to their phones instead of their surroundings, they are likely to get into an accident. Common forms of distraction include reading and responding to text messages, dialing phone numbers, talking on the phone, and using social media.
This type of accident occurs when a driver fails to stop, hitting a cyclist from the rear. According to reports, this is one of the most common causes of bicycle crashes. To help limit rear-end crashes, cyclists are advised to improve their visibility with lights to the front and rear of the bike and wear reflective gear. In addition, riding inside a lane rather than close to the curb can improve visibility.
Most people fail to understand the risks that come with driving while fatigued. Studies have noted that they are similar to risks that come with driving while impaired especially in terms of their severity. Note that drivers who are out early, out late, or trying to get home after a long day at work can be at a massively increased risk of causing serious collisions.
Door Prize Collisions
This sort of collision tends to occur as a result of a parked car driver opening the door directly in a cyclist’s path. The cyclist is then blocked by the door and may not have time to notice and swerve to avoid it. To lessen the probability of door prize crashes, cyclists are advised to ride to the left of a lane.
According to experts, this ensures that the cyclist remains more visible. Additionally, cyclists should be mindful of parked cars on the right and moving to the left if a driver is in the driver’s seat.
Moving Around Traffic Areas
Note that cyclists riding on the road are unlikely to be seen by drivers moving through crowds. Also, note that there are less likely to escape crashes by making evasive moves. According to reports, motorists commonly stray from traffic lanes and onto bicycle lanes and sidewalks, making it another common cause of bicycle accidents and fatal injuries.
Left Cross Collisions
This kind of bicycle-related accident occurs when a vehicle moving in the opposite direction of a cyclist turns left in front of the cyclist. Fatal accidents happen when the cyclist’s left side is hit, or the cyclist is cut off by the vehicle and is forced to hit the vehicle’s right side.
However, note that these accidents can be avoided when cyclists ride on the road, not the sidewalk, as drivers often fail to look for cyclists using sidewalks. When riding, it is also pertinent you look ahead to foresee dangers and improve visibility.
Right Hook Crashes
These kinds of crashes tend to occur when a cyclist in front of a cross street is hit when a car turning right doesn’t see him or her.
It can also happen when drivers overtake a cyclist, cutting him or her off while making a right turn, and not taking into consideration that the cyclist is there or assuming they already passed the cyclist with adequate space. Have it in mind that riding to the far left of a lane can guarantee that vehicles take more care when passing cyclists. This also gives the cyclist adequate space to maneuver to avoid a crash.