The beginning of May marks the start of National Bike Safety Month; and, given the recent increase in pedestrian and cyclist car accident-related fatalities, awareness is more important than ever. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 857 cyclists were killed in fatal car accidents in 2018 – making it the deadliest year for cyclists since 1990. This 6% increase in fatal accidents involving cyclists from the previous year serves as a gruesome reminder of the importance of road safety awareness for both drivers and cyclists.
Share the Road, Save Lives
While recent data reveals the current dangers associated with sharing the road with cars, the truth is cyclists and drivers can coexist peacefully on the road, if all parties are actively practicing safe driving techniques. Given Houston’s massive metro area webbed in highways and busy roads, it’s not hard to imagine why these tragic fatal accidents occur frequently. A report compiled by the Houston Police Department on data collected from accidents involving motor vehicles and cyclists found a majority of Houston’s cycling accidents occurred in the daytime, involved a corner, and were in areas without bike lanes presently available to the cyclists involved.
Tips for Drivers
While it has been said before, the recent increase in bicyclist deaths makes it clear that drivers need to be more careful. The truth is a majority of bicycle accidents are preventable had the driver of the automobile been paying attention and following traffic laws. Drivers should always yield to pedestrians and cyclists while on the road. Drivers should also not engage in risky habits that result in distracted driving, like texting, talking on the phone, putting on makeup, or changing the radio station while operating a vehicle. The few seconds a driver is not paying attention to the road could mean the difference between life or death for a cyclist who enters the driver’s blind spot, is attempting to cross the street, or is trying any other maneuver the driver is not able to anticipate and safely react to. Additionally, drivers should always check all mirrors, use proper turn signals, and leave adequate room when changing lanes and turning corners – two routine maneuvers that are particularly harmful to bicyclists.
Drivers who speed endanger the lives of everyone on the road, including their own. Speeding not only increases the chances of a driver losing control of their vehicle, but it also increases the severity of injuries associated with an accident. For a cyclist without the same physical protection of a motor vehicle, a collision with a speeding vehicle will likely be fatal.
Tips for Cyclists
Unfortunately, cyclists cannot count on drivers to always practice safe driving. When sharing the road with motor vehicles, NHTSA recommends cyclists ride defensively and be prepared for inattentive drivers. Cyclists should also obey the same traffic signals as motor vehicles, as well as travel in the same flow of traffic. Cyclists can take additional precautions by wearing reflective or brightly colored clothing when riding in the evening, dusk, or dawn.
Bikes should always be fitted for the rider, as should safety equipment like helmets, kneepads, and elbow pads. This not only better protects the rider but allows them to maintain control of their bike.
Houston Bike Accident Attorneys
Hopefully, one day Houston will be equipped with adequate bike lanes throughout the city that ensure the safety of all on the road. Until then, drivers and cyclists must work together to decrease fatal accidents. Cyclists who have been the victims of negligent drivers may be entitled to financial compensation. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in a bike accident, contact us today for a free case consultation. There is limited time to act in Texas following your accident, so don’t delay.