National Bike Month is celebrated in May of every year in the United States. The physical, economic, and environmental benefits of cycling are abundant and cycling is continuing to grow in popularity. There were 33,742 cyclists counted in the quarterly citywide program in Seattle alone. However, there is the sad reality that a tragic number of people are killed and injured in bicycle accidents throughout the country every year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 743 people lost their lives to bicycle-vehicle accidents in the United States in 2013 –an 8.9% increase in bicyclists fatalities since 2011. You can see in the graphic below that bicyclists are the most prone to collisions that end in fatality or injury than any other person or vehicle on the street:
Bicycle Accidents in Washington State
Washington state has been awarded the most bicycle-friendly state in the country by the League of American Bicyclists for 8 straight years. The League of American Bicyclists evaluates several criteria when determining the most bicycle-friendly states, and the Evergreen State’s dedication to improving infrastructure and growing ridership are among the criteria that justified this award.
Washington State prides itself on being bicycle friendly, however accidents will always happen. In 2013, there were 1,325 vehicle-bicycle collisions in Washington State. 87 of these collisions resulted in serious injury and 11 resulted in death (Washington State Department of Transportation).
Bicyclists are much more prone to serious injury and fatality than drivers and occupants of motor vehicles. In 2013, 99.4% of bicyclists involved in a fatal collision in Washington State died or were injured in some way; an astounding percentage compared to the 49.1% of drivers of motor vehicles that are injured in collisions
Bicycle Collisions throughout the United States
The NHTSA reported that just under 2 people every day in the year 2013 lost their lives in bicycle-vehicle crashes in the United States. Bicyclist injuries for 2013 reached up to 48,000 nationwide. With numbers like these it makes sense that the total cost of bicyclist injury and death is reported to be over $4 billion per year (National Safety Council).
According to the 2012 National Survey on Bicyclists and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors, nearly a third of all injuries are when bicyclists are struck by cars. Unfortunately hit-and-run bicycle accidents are also extremely common, which is part of the reason that 3 out of 5 at-fault drivers in bicycle accidents are never cited. The figure for at-fault drivers who are not cited in bicycle accidents includes those that are fatal and those that are classified as hit-and-runs accidents.
Bicycle Accident Attorneys in Seattle
As illustrated in the graph above, bicycle accidents are far too common in the Seattle area and throughout other areas of Western Washington. There are a number of intersections throughout downtown Seattle that are particularly common scenes for bicycle accidents, and bicyclists would be best served by being aware of these specific areas and exercising additional caution when approaching them.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, Seattle attorney Chris Davis has authored an informational legal guide that may provide some helpful guidance about the reality of bicycle accidents and what to expect during the legal process. If you would like to order a copy of “Wheels of Justice: Washington State Bicycle Accident Law” or if you would like to speak with an attorney about your accident, contact the Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000 today.