When cars hit bicyclists in Philadelphia, serious injuries are bound to occur. A car weighs a couple tons while a bicycle weighs about 20 pounds, so a collision between the two leaves a clear loser. "The bike always loses," points out Time Blumenthal, president of People for Bikes.
Drivers must take special precautions to share the road with the cyclists and avoid fatal accidents. It is important to realize the power of your vehicle and the damage it can do to a bicycle in an accident. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continue to see the number of bicycle fatalities rise.
Latest Bicycle Accident Statistics
679 cyclists were killed by traffic crashes in 2015
49,000 cyclists were injured by traffic crashes in 2015
The average age of cyclists killed by traffic crashes in 2015 was 45 and the average age of cyclists who were injured was 33
10% of cyclists killed in 2015 were younger than 15
When passing a cyclist, take care to give a wide enough berth. Nearly half of the U.S. states have passed laws requiring 3 feet of space for passing. Close calls can cause cyclists to lose control or become distracted, resulting in a crash. If you don't have the ability to pass immediately, slow down and wait until you can. Don't zoom around the cyclist or honk – these are additional things that can distract a cyclist and cause serious harm without any benefit.
Stay Focused on the Road
Bicyclists can appear seemingly out of nowhere. Don't drive distracted and look carefully before passing other cars or turning. Nearly every driver involved in a biking accident says they didn't see the cyclist before they hit – taking your eyes off of the road to look at your phone, talk to a passenger or look at the GPS unit will only increase those odds.
Change your Attitude
If you consider bicyclists as "in your way," then you are setting yourself up for a problem. Motorists in Philadelphia need to share the road with bicycles, understanding that they are entitled to using the road as much as any other driver. Road rage and impatience can be a dangerous attitude and drivers should consider the person on the bike as they truly are – another human. Stop and consider how you would want someone to drive when next to your cycling friend or relative while on the road. The carelessness that can come from the frustration of being slowed down will cause poor judgment and may lead to an avoidable Philadelphia bicycle accident.
Remember: Cyclists are Good for Drivers
Part of changing your attitude is understanding the benefit cyclists offer – they aren't adding to air pollution, they reduce congesting traffic and they don't cause potholes. The more drivers who take the opportunity to bike to work, the better off the environment and the community is. Cyclists are getting fit and reducing traffic at the same time.
Driving recklessly won't change the fact that cyclists are here to stay – but it might land you in jail or facing serious law suits. As Philadelphia continues to encourage their citizens to increase personal health and keep their streets cleaner with cycling, laws will continue to protect vulnerable cyclists. Do yourself and your neighbors a favor and drive smart as you share the roads.
If you or a loved one has sustained injury in a bicycle accident, give our low contingency fee Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyers a call to discuss in full.
The Lassen Law Firm only deducts a low 29% contingency fee, not the standard 40-45% like other firms. We serve ALL of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We can sign you up over the phone and start working on your case today.
The Lassen Law Firm
1515 Market St #1510
Philadelphia, PA 19102