Brad Pistotnik Law
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Can Defensive Riding Prevent a Bicycle Crash?

Can Defensive Riding Prevent a Bicycle Crash?

bicycle crash

Can defensive riding prevent a bicycle crash? What steps can riders take to protect themselves while riding down the road? More than 123 motor vehicle involved bicycle accidents occur in the United States every day. These cause hundreds of fatalities and tens of thousands of injuries every year. The risks of accidents are growing and cyclists need to take active steps to protect themselves on increasingly congested roads.

Who Is at Risk of a Bicycle Accident?

When a bicycle is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, it's the bicyclist that loses and suffers significant personal injuries. Nationwide, there were more than 45,000 bicycle/motor vehicle accidents recorded in 2015. While this was lower than the 50,000 recorded in 2014, the number of fatal accidents increased by more than 12%. In all, more than 30% of all bicycle related injuries are the result of collisions with motor vehicles.

A significant number of people are riding bicycles in the United States. In 2018, it was estimated that 23% of people 18-29, 24% of people aged 30-49, and 20% of people aged 50 or older had ridden a bicycle at least once in the past 12 months. This means a significant number of people are at risk of serious injury or death in a bicycle accident.

Most bicycle accidents occur between 6pm and 9pm. The combination of increased traffic, decreased lighting, and driver distractions during this period makes these hours particularly hazardous. Men are 5.6 times more likely to suffer a bicycle related fatality than women riders.

Bicycle Accidents in Kansas

In 2017, there were 321 accidents involving bicyclists in Kansas. These caused 5 fatalities and 308 personal injuries. For comparison, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 840 bicyclist fatalities in the United States. Approximately 71% of fatal accidents occur in cities where cyclists are more likely to share congested roads with motor vehicles.

Commuting on the Rise

One reason for the significant rate of motor vehicle involved bicycle accidents is that more and more people are using bicycles. From 2000 to 2013, the number of people using a bicycle to commute to work rose by 62%. In "bicycle friendly communities," that rate rose by 105%. Over this period, cities in Kansas have experienced an increase ridership rate of between 40% to 69%.

Riding Defensively Can Reduce the Risk of Bicycle Accidents

Riders can take active measures to protect themselves. These include:

  • Riding in the direction of traffic
  • Obeying street signs
  • Wearing reflective clothing
  • Avoiding roads where bike lanes are not present.

Cyclists should also equip their bicycle with front/rear lights and ensure that their brakes, tires, and other equipment are in good working order.

As with drivers, bicycle riders should avoid distractions including listening to music on headphones, texting, or talking on the phone while riding. Finally, cyclists should wear helmets at all times during their ride. Riders involved in motor vehicle accidents while wearing helmets suffer 70% fewer traumatic brain injuries than riders who are not wearing helmets.

In a Bicycle Crash? Call the Bull

Brad Pistotnik Law is a Wichita law firm with bike accident injury attorneys who represent pedestrians and cyclists in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Illinois. We represent clients involved in accidents in Topeka, Garden City, Kansas City, Overland Park, Lawrence, Wichita, Goodland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Manhattan, Beloit, Benedict, Carbondale, Newton, and elsewhere in these states. Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD or on our local line at 316-684-4400. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. In Western Kansas you can call 620-THE-BULL.