Young Americans are increasingly concerned about the future of the planet. Many are doing their part to limit their carbon footprint. This often involves ditching traditional forms of transportation in favor of more environmentally-friendly alternatives. It may be no surprise to learn that more people are choosing to ride a bike than ever before.
Bicycle traffic is increasing across the country. However, the infrastructure in most cities and states isn’t designed with bicyclists in mind. More bicyclists are hitting the road, and more bicyclists are getting injured and killed in traffic accidents.
The Most Dangerous States For Bicyclists
Some states are more dangerous for bicyclists than others. Statistics show that Florida, Texas, and California lead the nation in fatal bicycle accidents. These states are home to 27 percent of the country’s population but account for more than 40 percent of all cyclist deaths. Florida typically leads the nation in fatal bicycle accidents, with Texas and California close behind.
Why are these states so dangerous for bicyclists? There are a few possible reasons. These states are:
- Heavily populated
- Home to some of the nation’s largest and busiest cities, and
- Popular tourist destinations.
According to Boris Lavent, a personal injury lawyer in Miami, “While cities in these states have made strides in improving bicyclist safety, many still lack dedicated infrastructure that’s necessary to keep riders safe.”
Distracted Driving and Biking Blamed For Spike in Cyclist Deaths
Bicyclists are twice as likely to die in an accident than passengers in other vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped bicyclists from engaging in behaviors that increase the risk of an accident. Studies show that a rising number of cyclists are getting into accidents because they are distracted.
Texting, checking social media, talking on the phone, and listening to music all take a cyclist’s attention and focus away from the road. A rider is much more likely to veer into traffic or fail to see a hazard if they are even slightly distracted by an electronic device.
Bicyclists aren’t the only ones who are distracted. Even though most states have laws that prohibit or regulate cell phone use behind the wheel, many drivers aren’t following the rules. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few moments significantly increases the likelihood of getting into an accident. When you’re sharing the road with bicyclists, this puts them in serious danger.
According to one study, the number of bike accidents caused by careless and distracted driving increased by 40 percent between 2013 and 2016. This represents a significant number of cyclists who could have been spared severe pain or fatal injuries if drivers had just been paying attention.
Injured Riders Entitled to Compensation
Bike accidents aren’t always fatal. When cyclists survive a collision, they often have to deal with incredibly painful injuries. Many times, riders are afflicted with disabilities that affect them to some degree for the rest of their lives.
Injured riders can often get money for their injuries. The ability to recover compensation often depends on where the accident took place. In states like California and Florida, bike accident victims aren’t barred from filing a successful personal injury claim. Cyclists can be compensated for their injuries as long as they are not entirely responsible for their injuries. A financial award can be available as long as someone else is also to blame.
Injured riders should be aware that while contributing to their own accident won’t prohibit a financial recovery, it can reduce the amount of money they can get. Damages will be reduced by however much fault is attributed to the injured rider. For example, a cyclist can only recover 50 percent of their damages if they share 50 percent of the blame for their bike accident.
Bicycle accidents are on the rise across the country. Injured riders must exercise caution and use dedicated bicycle infrastructure whenever possible. When an accident does occur, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for help.