Over the last few weeks bicyclist fatalities have made the news locally, including a bicyclist killed in Fairfax County and another in Bethesda. The Fairfax incident involved a bicyclist riding around 8 p.m. when he was struck from behind by an SUV. He was bicycling with a partner, but not wearing reflective clothing and did not have any lights on the bicycle. The Montgomery County incident involved a 64-year-old form Navy SEAL who was killed when a car struck his bicycle on Massachusetts Avenue at around 6:30 a.m. The bicyclist was on the shoulder, wearing a helmet, when he was struck by a car. There was no bike lane at the point in the road where he was struck.
These incidents come as the Journal of the America Medical Association published a study that found the number of traumatic injuries related to bikes in adults age 18 and older nearly doubled from 1998-99 to 2012-2013 going from 8,791 to 15,427.
As the number of bicyclists on the road continues to rise, researchers also found that head injuries had risen from 10 to 16 percent and torso injuries rose from 14 to 17 percent of all injuries. In the most recent years of the study, 56 percent of bicycling injuries took places on streets, rather than in parks, rural areas, or other locations. The greatest increase in injuries was seen among Americans over the age of 45, rising from 23 percent to 42 percent.
These unfortunate stories, and alarming statistics, are an important reminder that the roadways need to be safe for all users, whether in motor vehicles or on bicycles. When an accident occurs between two automobiles, the people in the motor vehicles have at least some protection, whether it’s the body of the vehicle, airbags, or other safety features. Bicyclists are completely exposed. A low-speed collision that would cause only minor injuries to a passenger in a car, can have significant consequences if it involves a bicyclist. Out of the roadway, everyone, both drivers and bicyclists, need to be mindful of others on the roadway and their surroundings to help avoid accidents.
The personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., have helped countless bicyclists who have been injured by careless or negligent drivers. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycling accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, please give us a call today for a free consultation.