The bicycle is arguably one of the best inventions of all time. And today, it has a role in many people’s lives as a way to exercise, as a tool to get from place to place, and as something that provides joy. However, despite all the benefits that bicycles offer, riding a bike can be incredibly dangerous. The following reviews the most recent bicycle accident statistics and data in both Pennsylvania and the U.S.
For the sake of statistics that will be provided below, it is best to start with a definition of who is considered a bicyclist or pedacyclist (the term that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA – uses). According to the NHTSA, a pedacyclist is any bicycle rider or other cyclists of two-wheeled, non-motorized vehicles, as well as tricycles and unicycles powered only by pedals.
Bicycle Fatalities and Injuries in Pennsylvania
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in 2014, bicycle crashes represented 1.1 percent of the total number of crashes recorded in the state that year. There were 19 bicyclist deaths and 1,298 bicyclist injuries. Unfortunately, there were more bicycle deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014 than in 2011, 2012 or 2013.
Bicycle Fatalities and Injuries in the U.S.
For obvious reasons, the U.S. as a whole saw a much larger number of bicycle deaths and injuries. Bicycle accident statistics for 2013 reveals that there were 743 cyclists killed and 48,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents. Bicycle deaths accounted for 2 percent of all traffic deaths on a national level, as well as 2 percent of all traffic accident-related injuries.
Bicycle Deaths and Injuries by Age
The age group that sustained the most injuries were those cyclists ages 20 to 34; cyclists in this age category accounted for 32.7 percent of all cyclist injuries in Pennsylvania. This age group also sustained a high number of cyclist fatalities, with 21.1 percent of all cyclists killed in 2014 age 20 to 34. The rate of fatality was equally high among cyclists ages 55 through 64.
On a national level, the age group that experienced the most fatal bicyclist accidents were those ages 55 through 59, followed by cyclists ages 50 through 54.
As with all types of traffic accidents in both Pennsylvania and the U.S., alcohol did play a role in the occurrence of some bicycle accidents.
Nationally, nearly one-fourth of all bicyclists killed in 2013 had a blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) higher than .01 percent, and one-fifth had a BAC of higher than .08 percent (the legal limit). In 29 percent of crashes, either the driver or the cyclist was reported to have a BAC of .08 percent or higher.
Where and When Bicycle Accident Occur
In Pennsylvania, most bicycle accidents occurred during daylight, although 26.3 occurred when it was dark outside. The vast majority of these accidents occurred at intersections, although most fatal accidents occurred at non-intersections. Surprisingly, accidents were more common when traffic control devices were present, rather than when they weren’t. Of the 19 bicycle deaths in 2014 in Pennsylvania, 18 of them occurred on state highways. Only one was local.
Ways to Protect Yourself as a Cyclist
If you are a cyclist in Pennsylvania or anywhere else, you need to protect yourself. To do so, always use hand signals, follow traffic laws, yield when required, pay attention to your surroundings and never leave the house on your bike without a helmet on your head.
Speak with a Bicycle Accident Attorney Now
The bicycle accident attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC are ready to meet with you to discuss your claim and help you recover damages for your losses after a bicycle accident. To learn more, call us today at 215-791-8272 or use our online contact form.