Summer is the season to be outdoors, hiking, swimming, camping, recreation and of course bicycling. More people are hitting the streets on bicycles this time of season than all the other seasons and we want you to know some cycling statistics brought to you by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All of this relates to both motorists and cyclists.
Bicyclists accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities and 2 percent of all crash-related injuries in 2012. Most bicyclist fatalities occurred between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight (48%) and in urban areas (69%). Almost 9 in 10 (88%) of those killed while riding bicycles were male. One in four bicyclists (24%) who died in crashes had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, the illegal alcohol level in all States. Many crashes could be avoided if all bicyclists and motorists followed the rules of the road.
What the Data Tells Us
Overall, while passenger vehicle deaths decreased in 2012, bicyclist fatalities (682 to 726) and injuries (48,000 to 49,000) increased in 2012 from the year before. Of those injuries, 6,000 were incapacitating, meaning the bicyclist could not leave the crash scene without assistance (skull, chest, or abdominal injuries, broken limbs, severe lacerations, or unconsciousness). 2012 Bicyclists and Other Cyclists Traffic Safety Fact Sheet (www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/ 812018.pdf) • More bicyclist fatalities occur during the summer months of July through September, but in 2012 the biggest increases in bicyclist fatalities occurred from January through June, compared to the year before.
Safety in Numbers
According to NHTSA’s 2012 nationally representative telephone survey, on a typical day the average duration of a bicycle ride was 45 minutes. The most common ride length was 30 minutes or less (42%), followed by 31 to 60 minutes (36%), 61 to 120 minutes (15%) and 121 minutes or longer (7%). 2012 National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior (Vols 1, 2, 3) (http://www.nhtsa.gov/nti/811841) • Recreation (33%) and exercise (28%) were the most commonly cited purposes for bicycle trips, followed by personal errands (17%), visiting a friend (8%), commuting to work (7%) or going to school (4%).
TOP MISTAKES that Bicyclists Make
• Bicyclist rides out into the street from a driveway, alley, or from between parked cars without stopping or looking for traffic. Drivers do not expect bicyclists to enter the road in the middle of a block. The driver has the right-of-way and expects ALL entering traffic to yield. Look left-right-left before entering a road.
• Bicyclist turns or swerves suddenly into the path of a motorist. Unfortunately, these crashes often involve children. Ride in straight, predictable lines; look over your shoulder for traffic; and use hand signals before changing lane position.
• Bicyclist rides through a stop sign or red light without stopping. Follow the same rules of the road as motorists. Be prepared to stop quickly.
• Bicyclist rides in the wrong direction, approaching cars head-on. This type of crash is often deadly. Drivers do not expect traffic to come from the wrong direction. These crashes can occur at driveways, intersections, or when drivers turn right and hit an oncoming bicyclist. Ride with the flow of traffic, never against it.
• Bicyclist rides while impaired, which affects the balance, coordination, focus, and quick reactions necessary for safe biking. Remember that a bicycle is a vehicle. If you plan to drink, get a safe ride home. Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Resource Guide
TOP MISTAKES that Drivers Make
• Driver turns in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway. Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists and do not underestimate their speed.
• Driver fails to search surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles. These crashes can occur in parking lots, at stop signs, when backing up, or when parking on the street. Before accelerating your vehicle, look around for all road users, including bicyclists and pedestrians.
• Driver turns right on red without looking to the right and behind, hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look leftright-left and behind before turning right on red.
• Driver is going too fast for conditions and hits a bicyclist who comes into the road unexpectedly. Obey the speed limit, drive defensively, watch for others, and be prepared to stop.
• Driver overtakes a bicyclist but doesn’t see them until it is too late. Factors may include speeding, inattention, and alcohol on the part of the driver, and poor visibility or alcohol on the part of the bicyclist. Always do visual scans of the roadway for other traffic, especially at night.
• Driver passes a bicycle too closely. These crashes tend to occur to riders 15 and older. Pass bicyclists as you would any other vehicle—when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane.
For more information regarding Bicycle Safety Click Here