Why are the number of bike accidents rising in California?
New data released from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals an alarming trend—more cyclists have died in traffic accidents between the years 2016 through 2018 than during any other three-year period. Between 2016 through 2018, 455 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in California, translating to about 3.9 bike accident fatalities per million people. Nationally, fatal bike accident rates were also on the rise. During that same period, 2,516 cyclists died in accidents on the roadways, which represents the highest fatal accident rate since the mid-2000s. These statistics should have all cyclists concerned. Our Los Angeles, California bicycle accident lawyers discuss the potential cause of rising cyclist accidents below.
More Drivers and Cyclists
It is thought that part of the reason behind the rise in bicycle accidents is the increase in vehicles and bicycles on the roadways. More people today commute to work, while rideshare serves have similarly increased the sheer number of vehicles on the roads. Bicycling has also become more popular. In a movement towards reducing our carbon emissions and staying fit, more people that have the ability to do so are cycling to and from work or other activities. As more cyclists bike in and around motor vehicles, more accidents are occurring.
Distracted driving has created dangerous conditions for all road users. Smartphones are used by nearly every American, and often drivers struggle to put away their phones as they drive. Bicyclists are especially at risk from distracted drivers because they are less visible. A driver on his or her phone or looking down to text might easily hit a cyclist attempting to cross an intersection or even swerve into the bike lane.
Larger vehicles like pickup trucks and SUVs have become increasingly popular in recent years. Larger vehicles tend to have larger blind spots, which can make it harder to see cyclists. SUVs and trucks also sit higher, which may obscure their view of the much lower bicyclist. SUV drivers need to pay particular attention to cyclists and consider investing in a vehicle with the most up-to-date safety features, which may include increased blind spot detection.
Bicyclists in Los Angeles and elsewhere will want to be aware of the potential for accidents and take extra care to protect themselves. Be ever vigilant while on your bike. If you are injured in an accident, contact a bike accident lawyer as soon as possible.