Many people throughout the country found themselves riding their bicycles more during and after the worst of the pandemic. This offered an escape, a way to get out of their home office and enjoy some peace, fresh air, and exercise. Plus, with fewer cars on the roads, it was often safer to bike than before the pandemic.
Or so it seemed.
Although researchers are still gathering data, review of preliminary data is not as promising as we would hope. Researchers currently report that car accidents were responsible for the deaths of 675 cyclists in 2020 compared to 846 in 2019. Although this number is lower, it is important to keep in mind that there was a significant portion of the year when traffic was cut almost in half. Yet the number of accidents did not reflect this same reduction. As a result this preliminary review shows bicycle accidents and fatal injuries are still a serious problem.
Why are vehicles still causing cyclist accidents?
The infrastructure still needs work. Large trucks and SUVs are driving on the same roadways used by bicyclists, and this is dangerous. Speed limits also continue to increase, making it more likely that any accident will have tragic consequences.
What can cyclists do to reverse this trend?
The push for new laws and advocacy for safety measures have helped to increase awareness. This is helpful and should continue. Other measures that will help include reduced speed limits and more access to bicycle lanes.
It is also important to hold those who injure cyclists accountable. A personal injury lawsuit not only results in funds for the injured or their loved ones, but also serves as a deterrent for others and can help to make our communities safer for other cyclists.