Bicycle accidents: statistical analysis and lessons learned
Every year in Texas and elsewhere in the country, bicycle accidents account for about two percent of total accidents involving vehicles. The Governors Highway Safety Association has recently published a study monitoring bicycle-related deaths from 2010 through 2012, and its findings indicate that Texas is one of the more dangerous states in which to ride a bicycle.
According to the study, there are a half-dozen states that produced more than half of fatal bicycle collisions in the entire nation during its duration, and Texas is one of them. The state averaged third highest in fatalities for two of those three years with more than 40 bicyclist fatalities each year.
What was perhaps more interesting about the study was its conclusion that the distribution of bicycle accident deaths is shifting demographically. Where children were once considered the most vulnerable bicycle riders, the increasing proliferation of adults in the statistics suggests that it is now adults, and in particular adult men, who are now the most likely to die in an accident. In fact, while from 1975 to 2012 the percentage of bicyclists killed decreased from almost 80 percent to about 20 percent, the reverse was true for the adults: Their share increased four-fold in the same period, from about 20 percent to more than 80 percent.
The reasons why more adults appear to be getting into accidents may have something to do with the desire of more adults to use bicycles for activities like commuting or exercise. The net effect has been to increase the incidents in which a negligent driver will encounter a bicycle just as readily as a car.
Bicycles in Texas have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles on the road, and that means that someone else who disregards a bicyclist’s right of way or safety is just as liable for any accident that ensues as if another car was involved.
Anyone injured in a bicycle collision with a car or a truck, or the surviving relatives of someone killed in such an accident, should seek legal assistance to determine how to obtain just compensation if the motor vehicle driver caused the accident.