Arizona’s climate makes bicycle riding a popular activity, both for pleasure and for transportation among the citizens of the state. Depending on where you live in Arizona, you may see bicyclists taking to the streets every day as they enjoy the desert scenery while using an environmental-friendly means of transportation. Below our experienced Phoenix bicycle accident lawyers discuss the statistics behind bicycle accidents in AZ.
Increase in Biking for CommutingOnly a few decades ago, a large number of bicyclists were children who were too young to drive a car. In recent years, though, the average age of bicyclists has been increasing significantly as more and more Americans choose to commute to work by bike.
In response to the overall increase in bike riding, many communities have been adapting their roads and streets to make biking safer. Some areas have created bicycle lanes where only bikes are allowed to ride. Others have implemented bicycle-specific traffic lights to control bicycles in high traffic areas. Whether or not a community has taken steps to encourage safe biking, people are still allowed to ride their bicycles in the streets and are protected by the same laws that apply to motorists.
Increase in Bike-Related AccidentsUnfortunately, as bicycling has become more popular, the number of bicycle-related collisions has also been on the rise. Whether a bicycle is hit by another cyclist, struck by a car, or hit by a commercial truck, injuries often result.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported the following bicycle accident statistics for 2011:
- There were 677 bicycle-related fatalities with another 48,000 bicyclists injured in accidents;
- Bicycle injuries and fatalities accounted for approximately 2% of all injuries and fatalities on American roads;
- Almost 10% of bicyclists killed were between 5 and 15 years old;
- The average age of a bicyclists who was killed was 43 years old;
- The average age of a bicyclist who was injured was 32 years old;
- Most bicycle fatalities were in urban areas and were not at intersections;
- Bicyclists aged 35 to 54 accounted for the largest number of fatalities at 235;
- The most hazardous time to ride a bicycle was between 4:00 p.m. and 7:59 p.m.;
- Alcohol was a factor in over 1/3 of all bicycle-related crashes;
- The majority of bicyclists killed and injured were male.
Arizona Accident Statistics for BicyclistsNHTSA has been collecting and reporting bicycle accident data since 1932, and in total since that time, over 51,000 people on bicycles have been killed in accidents, meaning that tens of thousands of families have been affected by the loss of loved ones in these accidents. Arizona has incurred its fair share of these tragic accidents as well.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) keeps track of the types of accidents that happen, cause injuries, and claim the lives of residents every year. For 2012, ADOT reported the follow bike accident statistics:
- There were 1,742 people injured in bicycle accidents;
- As a result of bike crashes, 18 people were killed;
- Well over 90% of all bicycle accidents resulted in either injury or death of the bicyclist;
- Though bicycle accidents accounted for only 2% of all street-related crashes, they made up 3.5% of all injury accidents, meaning bicyclists were more likely to be injured in an accident than others on the road;
- Contrary to popular belief, the majority of bicycle accidents occurred during daylight hours and in sunny conditions;
- The number of bicycle accidents increased by just over 200 crashes between 2011 and 2012, the first increase in several years.
How to Make Bicycling SaferExperts believe that bicycling will continue to be a popular activity in the decades to come and as a result, the threat of bicycle accidents will remain. It is every driver’s duty and responsibility to act in a safe and cautious manner while on the road and this duty extends to the safety of the ever-increasing number of bicyclists.
Motorists involved in an accident often say that they never saw a biker until after a collision occurred because they were not looking for the bicyclists to be present, meaning that a greater attention on the road may just lead to a decrease in the number of bicycle-related accidents.
Safety Tips for Arizona BicyclistsThe best thing for reducing bicycle injuries and deaths is to limit the number of collisions that occur. But obviously collisions will still occur no matter how safe cities make roads and no matter how vigilant cyclists and drivers are.
The next best thing is to keep the bicyclist as safe as possible in the event of an accident. While there is nothing surrounding a bicyclist to protect the rider in the event of a crash, bikers can opt for safety gear that limit the chances of an accident occurring and that protect the biker’s body in an accident.
Bike reflectors and headlamps are some of the common, and often required safety devices a biker should consider using as are reflective or illuminated clothing and shoes.
Using a properly fitting bicycle helmet can make a major impact on a bicyclist’s safety as well. Many fatal bike injuries involve a head or face injury that may be limited when a bicyclists wears a helmet. Despite the benefits offered by a helmet, many in Arizona choose to ride without one, increasing the risk of a head or brain injury in a crash.
How can Arizona make Roads more Bike Friendly?Since biking is an environmentally conscious transport method for commuting and a healthy exercise and fun pastime, our roads and drivers need to be more careful about sharing the road. This means that drivers need to keep an eye out for bicyclists to give them their space without putting them into dangerous positions.
This also means that it may be necessary to expand biking infrastructure to include bike lanes or biking paths that commuters commonly use in high-traffic areas. These steps can go a long way to making Arizona more bike friendly while also decreasing injuries and fatalities to bicyclists caused by motor vehicle accidents.
Were you Injured in an Arizona Bicycle Accident?If you have been a victim of a bicycle accident, Arizona law may allow you to make a claim for your financial damages, including medical bills and lost wages you incurred. The law provides only a limited amount of time to bring this type of claim so it is always a good idea to speak with a Phoenix personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to learn about your legal rights and what options may be available to you.