Cycling is an increasingly popular recreational activity and mode of transportation in the US. According to the most recent data, approximately 12.4% of Americans cycle regularly, amounting to around 47.5 million cyclists in 2017.
Unfortunately, many American roads haven’t met cyclists’ requirements to ride safely alongside cars. As a result, many road accidents involve bikes, causing thousands of injury cases and deaths each year. This web page will provide some context for these figures as we review bicycle accident statistics from the latest data sources.
If you or a loved one were hurt in a bicycle accident caused by someone else, the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC could help you recover financial compensation for your injuries.
Contact our bicycle accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.
Statistics on Bicyclist Deaths and Injuries
The incidence rate of bicycle accidents and rates vary depending on the data source. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 938 bicyclists died in traffic accidents in 2020, accounting for an 8.9% increase from 2019, which saw 856 deaths.
Moreover, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 425,910 emergency department-treated injuries caused by bicycles in 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 1,000 cyclists die yearly, and more than 130,000 are injured in bicycle accidents.
Furthermore, the CDC gauges that bicycle accidents cost the US over $23 billion in healthcare costs, property damage, lost work productivity, and other damages.
Relevant Bicycle Accident Statistics
The following statistics help describe the nature of most bicycle accidents in the US:
- Bicycle accidents account for 2% of all traffic-related deaths (“bicycles” include other nonmotorized vehicles, e.g., tricycles and unicycles)
- Adults in the age group between 55 to 69 have the highest bicycle fatality rates; 47 is the average age of a cyclist killed
- The average age of bicyclists killed in crashes has been increasing in the past years
- About 11% of deadly bicycle crashes occur in spaces supposedly safe for cyclists (e.g., protected bike lanes, roadsides, medians); 29% occur at intersections
- Adolescents and young adults have the highest rates of bicycle injuries treated in emergency rooms; cyclists in the age group 10 to 24 years old account for almost one-third of all emergency room-treated injuries
- Approximately 64% of bicycle fatalities on roads far from intersections where speeding is more likely
- Almost one-third of bicycle fatalities involve alcohol for either the cyclist or motor vehicle driver
- Nearly half of the cyclist fatalities involved accidents with light trucks
- About 81% of fatal cycling accidents involved impacts with the vehicle’s front
- July and August are the most dangerous months for riders, which coincide with summer months when more bikes are on the road
Risk Factors Based on Bicycle Accident Statistics
A bicycle accident can occur anytime and anywhere. However, recent statistics identify specific risk factors regarding bike riding:
- Most cycling accidents occur in urban areas where roads tend to be not bike-friendly
- Deadly bike crashes are more likely to occur at night (between 6 to 9 PM); a rush hour and darkness contribute to the risk of a crash
- Male cyclist fatalities are seven times higher than female fatalities, regardless of age
The Importance of Bicycle Helmets in Preventing Bicyclist Fatalities
Bike helmets help prevent the most common cause of death in bike-related accidents: head trauma. In 2019, about 62% of cyclists killed in traffic crashes were not wearing helmets.
According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, fatal bicycle accidents are lower in states with universal helmet rules. Unfortunately, not all states have legislation mandating helmets for children and adult riders.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Bike accidents often stem from multiple factors, such as:
- Distracted Driving: Driver inattention is one of the leading causes of bicyclist fatalities and injuries. Bikes are already difficult to see on the road; when combined with a distracted driver, even a few seconds of inattention can quickly turn into a deadly situation.
- Speeding: Vehicles moving at high speeds pose a danger to everyone. However, they are especially risky for cyclists that don’t have protection like car drivers. Driving beyond the speed limit makes it easier for a vehicle to lose control or react too late to a dangerous situation.
- Dangerous Road Conditions: According to NHTSA, 13% of all bike accidents resulting in injuries occur due to hazardous road conditions, e.g., potholes, uneven roads, and uncleared debris. Inclement weather also increases the risk of a bicycle accident, especially when cyclists and drivers fail to adjust to weather conditions.
- Intoxication: Alcohol use by motor vehicle drivers and cyclists increases the cyclist fatality rate yearly. Drinking and driving (or bike riding) reduce a person’s coordination, concentration, reaction time, and judgment, increasing the crash risk.
Common Bicycle Injuries
A cyclist can suffer significant injuries in a crash, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Neck injuries
- Road rash
- Sprains and strains
- Crushing injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
What to Do if You Get into a Bicycle Accident
Bicycling is a fun leisure activity and an efficient mode of transportation. However, there is no denying that it comes with inherent risks far more significant than driving a car. It helps to know what you should do if you are injured in a bicycle accident:
- Get Help. Call 911 immediately to receive prompt medical attention for your injuries. The police will also arrive to assist you and other individuals involved.
- Document the Scene. Pictures and videos are solid evidence that can help solidify your claim later. Take pictures of the scene, the vehicle involved, and your injuries if you can.
- Write Down the Witnesses’ Information. If there are any possible witnesses, ask for their names and contact information. Witness testimonies can help you prove the driver’s negligence when you file your claim.
- Seek Medical Attention. After the dust has settled, go to the hospital for a complete medical assessment and treatment.
- Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer. Bicyclists have the same rights as car drivers. If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else, you have the right to take legal action against the at-fault driver. A personal injury lawyer can help you receive fair financial compensation for your damages.
How Can You Recover Financial Compensation?
Did you sustain injuries in an accident caused by someone else? Or did you lose a loved one in a fatal crash? You could hold the at-fault driver accountable by filing a personal injury claim.
Who is Liable?
The following are possible liable parties in a bicycle accident:
- Other cyclists
- Government agencies
How Do You Prove Negligence?
You must prove that the at-fault individual acted negligently to file a successful claim. Your cyclist accident lawyer will help you gather substantial evidence to prove your claim, such as:
- Medical records
- Surveillance footage
- Police reports
- Photos or videos of the accident scene
- Photos of injuries
- Witness accounts
- Expert testimony
What Damages Can You Recover?
Filing a claim against an at-fault driver could help you recover financial compensation for the following losses:
- Medical costs
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Property damage
- Wrongful death
- Punitive damages
Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
During the legal process, many hindrances can arise and prevent you from recovering a fair settlement for your claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate each step and fight for your right to fair compensation.
Your lawyer will help you build a solid case by:
- Investigating how and why the accident happened
- Identifying liable parties and establishing their negligence
- Collecting substantial evidence to support your claim
- Filing your claim with the appropriate insurance company
- Negotiating a fair settlement on your behalf
- Filing a lawsuit in civil court, if necessary
Bicycle Safety Tips
The bicycle accident statistics above show that bicycling is not as safe as it should be. Avoid risking your health and safety by following these tips:
- Wear a helmet. Many injuries and deaths in bicycling accidents are caused by cyclists’ failure to wear bicycle helmets. According to a 2001 study on bicycle helmet efficacy, wearing helmets reduces the risk of cyclist head injury by 60%.
- Use reflective gear. Bicyclists are not easily visible to motor vehicles. Combined with drivers not paying attention, cyclists have higher chances of getting killed in traffic crashes. Wearing reflective clothing can help reduce riders’ vulnerability on the road, especially at night.
- Be mindful of other drivers. According to accident statistics, most non-fatal injuries and fatalities are caused by drivers. Hence, it’s best to anticipate the actions of other road users and be prepared to adjust, especially in urban areas.
- Ride in designated areas. Stick to bike lanes, roadsides, and other spaces for bicyclists and pedestrians. If you must cross the road, get off your bike and pass in the pedestrian lane.
- Pick the right bike. Ride a bike that is right for your size; a bike that is too large or too small is difficult to control.
- Maintain your bike and helmet. Check your brakes and equipment before every commute.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Aside from helmet use, all riders should wear proper clothing to protect them from road rash and other injuries.
- Plan your route. Whenever possible, pick a path with bike lanes and fewer cars.
- Obey traffic safety rules. All bike riders must follow the rules just like car drivers. Following street signs, signals, and road markings, don’t counterflow, and avoid doing things that distract you.
- Drive predictably. Many cyclists killed in road crashes partially contributed to the accident by doing something another motorist did not expect. Avoid risking injuries and death by being as predictable as possible; ride with the flow of traffic, use hand signals, and look for traffic before turning.
Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Bicycle use has steadily increased in recent years. Unfortunately, so have injuries and fatalities among bicyclists.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bike accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC could help. We help bike riders recover fair financial compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages through rigorous negotiation and, if necessary, litigation.
Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay our legal fees unless we win your case.