Another hit-and-run accident involving a car versus bicycle, another bicyclist critically injured. Thankfully, the bicyclist did not die. These stories continue to occur and continue to alarm the public. When will they end? And when will motorists take responsibility for their actions likely caused by distracted driving and recklessness?
The latest incident mentioned occurred on May 10 in south Los Angeles. Just before 7 p.m., when there was still light outside, a car made an unsafe right turn and struck a man riding his bicycle in the crosswalk. The car driver failed to stop to help the victim and fled the scene at a high rate of speed. The victim sustained injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital where he was in critical condition.
More than 25% cyclist deaths caused by hit-and-runs
According to Outside magazine, 697 bicyclists died in accidents in 2020. Of those deaths, 183 or 26.3% were attributed to hit-and-run incidents involving motorists. In obtaining its numbers, the publication relied on reports from local media and noted that the actual number of bicyclist deaths is likely higher.
In previous years and from other sources, those numbers are higher.
For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 857 bicyclists died in 2018 and 47,000 were injured. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that 843 bicyclists died in 2019 in crashes with motor vehicles.
Regardless, too many bicyclists suffer from the mistakes made by motorists.
A review of five years of NHTSA statistics from 2015 to 2019 provides some startling information about bicyclist deaths. The numbers disclosed that hit-and-run incidents accounted for 20% of bicyclist deaths; drunk drivers caused 16% of the fatalities and excessive speeds by motorists contributed to 9% of the deaths.
Most bicyclists continue to take precautions before going on a trek. Cyclists, for the most part, remain a responsible bunch. However, all the precautions from wearing bright clothing, abiding by traffic laws and remaining vigilant are not always enough. Reckless or distracted motorists can upend a cyclist’s life at the snap of a finger.