Report Shows Bicycle Fatalities Increased 12.2 Percent in 2015

man on bicycle in daytimeFatal bicycle accidents are on the rise, according to statistics cited in a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

Research shows that 818 bicyclists died in 2015, a 12.2 percent increase compared to 2014. This was the largest year-over-year increase among all roadway user groups. Warm-weather states like California, Florida and Texas accounted for 40 percent of bicyclist deaths in 2015.

In the report, titled A Right to the Road: Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety, researchers analyzed bicycle crash statistics to identify when and where crashes are occurring along with characteristics of the victims.

Researchers discovered many notable statistics from 2015 fatal crash data:

  • 72 percent of fatal accidents occurred in non-intersection locations
  • 53 percent of fatal crashes took place between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • 85 percent of bicycle crash victims are male
  • 37 percent of crashes involved alcohol – either the driver or cyclist had been drinking
  • The average age of fatal crash victims is 45

The report notes that a common factor in many fatal crashes is that the cyclist expected a driver to yield the right-of-way, and he or she is unable to avoid a crash when the car driver does not stop or yield. This demonstrates that drivers and bicyclists alike need to pay careful attention to their surroundings whenever they are out on the road.

Biking Safety Recommendations

The GHSA report also provides 30 recommendations on how states can reduce bicycle fatalities on American roadways. Some of these recommendations include:

  • Refine crash reporting to collect more data about bicycle accidents. This includes providing tools to help law enforcement collect this information.
  • Provide training on bicycle safety for driver education professionals.
  • Educate bicyclists and motorists about safety when traveling in and around intersections.
  • Allow communities to establish reduced speed limits in slow zones and areas with a history of accidents, such as neighborhoods with schools, parks and day care centers.

While these recommendations are aimed at the authorities, there are several practical steps you can take when biking in Sacramento to help reduce your risk of a fatal accident, including:

  • Do not take your routine car route – A common mistake bicyclists make is to use the same route they would take if they were driving. Select a different route where the streets are not going to be as busy and traffic will be slower.
  • Signal before making a turn – Avoid surprising motorists, who are often not looking for bicyclists. This includes make left and right turn signals with your arms before approaching an intersection.
  • Attach lights to your bicycle –A white headlight visible from the front is required by law for riding at night. Lights are inexpensive and a necessity for drivers to see you.
  • Avoid listening to music while riding – You need to be listening to what is going on around you. Sometimes you can hear other cars before seeing them, giving you more time to react to protect yourself.

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney in Sacramento

Sadly, many fatal bicycle accidents are caused by driver negligence and could have been prevented. In these situations, loved ones of the victim may be entitled to compensation for the damages they have suffered.

The Sacramento auto accident lawyers at the Arnold Law Firm represent those who lost loved ones in fatal bicycle accidents. If this is your situation, contact a Sacramento personal injury lawyer for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis so we do not get paid unless there is a favorable resolution of your claim.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss potential legal options, by calling (916) 777-7777 or fill out a Free Case Evaluation form.