In cities like San Diego, more people are choosing to commute to work via bicycle. Not only is biking an environmentally-conscious mode of transportation, but it’s also a great way to get exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, biking can also be extremely dangerous especially for those commuters who travel city streets and share the road with motorists.
The dangers of biking are reflected in a report recently released by the Governors Highway Safety Association entitled, Spotlight on Highway Safety: Bicyclist Safety which reports that, from 2010 to 2012, fatalities among bicyclists increased 16 percent. According to the report, during 2012 nearly 70 percent of fatal bicycle accidents occurred in urban locations with adult males making up 74 percent of bicycle accident fatalities.
More than half, 54 percent, of reported bicycle fatalities from 2010 to 2012 were reported in just five states, a group which includes the state of California. The findings of this report indicate that states like California and urban communities need to do more to improve and provide for the safety of bicyclists.
In 1975, individuals age 20 and older made up just 21 percent of bicycle accident fatalities. Fast forward to 2012 and that number increased to 84 percent. In addition to adding more bike lanes and increasing bicycle safety awareness among motorists, officials also point to an increased need to promote helmet use and curb alcohol use by bicyclists.
During 2012, 75 percent of bicycle fatalities involved a rider who was not wearing a helmet. Additionally 28 percent had blood alcohol concentration levels over the legal limit. Injuries suffered in bicycle accidents are frequently serious and debilitating in nature. In addition to following all applicable traffic laws, bicyclists would also be wise to always wear a helmet when riding a bike and not to ride after drinking alcohol.
Source: GHSA.org, “Bicyclist Fatalities a Growing Problem for Key Groups,” Oct. 27, 2014