Why do bike-car accidents result in deaths?

Lately, a lot of reports have surfaced regarding increased bicycle use and the number of bike related incidents.  But the League of American Bicyclists believe that the numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are not capturing enough details.

According to a Consumer Advisory on the NHTSA site.  NHTSA statistics show that in 2012, 726 bicyclists were killed and an additional 49,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes, an increase of 6 percent from 2011 (682). The average age of bicyclists killed in traffic crashes was 43. The vast majority of these deaths occurred in urban areas (69 percent) and at non-intersections (60 percent) and involved mostly male riders (88 percent). About half of these fatalities (48 percent) occurred from 4:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.

Interesting. But according to a Vox article, the League of American Bicyclists’ own data sets reveal even more telling information:

Rear-end collisions cause a huge number of cyclist deaths

League of American Bicyclists data reveal more about bicycle related fatalities

One key takeaway is that rear end collisions with bicyclists don’t make up a huge chunk of bike collisions.  However, this category of incidents are more likely to result in serious injury or death.

Driver error account for many more deaths than cyclist error.

Most common factors in bicycle related deaths are due to driver error.

For those of you bicyclists, please check out bicyclesafe.com which provides a wonderful and detailed guide that will help you avoid getting into a range of different types of collisions with cars. We at Stritmatter Kessler Whelan have seen too many of our bike accident clients horribly injured due to driver error.

NOTE: This blog post is re-published from SKW’s Bike Law Blog.

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