By: Allan M. Siegel
Over the last few weeks bicyclist fatalities have made the news locally,
including a bicyclist killed in Fairfax County and another in Bethesda.
The Fairfax incident involved a bicyclist riding around 8 p.m. when he
was struck from behind by an SUV. He was bicycling with a partner, but
not wearing reflective clothing and did not have any lights on the bicycle.
The Montgomery County incident involved a 64-year-old form Navy SEAL who
was killed when a car struck his bicycle on Massachusetts Avenue at around
6:30 a.m. The bicyclist was on the shoulder, wearing a helmet, when he
was struck by a car. There was no bike lane at the point in the road where
he was struck.
These incidents come as the Journal of the America Medical Association
published a study that found the number of traumatic injuries related
to bikes in adults age 18 and older nearly doubled from 1998-99 to 2012-2013
going from 8,791 to 15,427.
As the number of bicyclists on the road continues to rise, researchers
also found that head injuries had risen from 10 to 16 percent and torso
injuries rose from 14 to 17 percent of all injuries. In the most recent
years of the study, 56 percent of bicycling injuries took places on streets,
rather than in parks, rural areas, or other locations. The greatest increase
in injuries was seen among Americans over the age of 45, rising from 23
percent to 42 percent.
These unfortunate stories, and alarming statistics, are an important reminder
that the roadways need to be safe for all users, whether in motor vehicles
or on bicycles. When an accident occurs between two automobiles, the people
in the motor vehicles have at least some protection, whether it’s
the body of the vehicle, airbags, or other safety features. Bicyclists
are completely exposed. A low-speed collision that would cause only minor
injuries to a passenger in a car, can have significant consequences if
it involves a bicyclist. Out of the roadway, everyone, both drivers and
bicyclists, need to be mindful of others on the roadway and their surroundings
to help avoid accidents.
The personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel,
P.C., have helped countless bicyclists who have been injured by careless
or negligent drivers. If you or someone you love has been injured in a
bicycling accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, please give us a call
today for a