With summer coming to an end, concerns are rising about what the next few months will bring in terms of bicycle safety. That’s because, as the Press of Atlantic City reports, the months of August, September and October typically see a significant increase in bicycle fatalities. Furthermore, serious bicycle accidents involving adult riders have been rising across the country in recent years, including in New Jersey. The increased danger has led to calls for a greater investment in infrastructure to help protect cyclists.
Federal statistics show that about a third of annual fatal bicycle accidents across the United States occur between August and October. There may be a variety of reasons why late summer and early fall witness an increase in bicycle accidents. While it is possible that the cooler days lead to more cyclists on the road, the fact that the days are also getting shorter seems to play a big role. Reduced visibility is a big factor in bicycle accidents, with fatalities more likely to happen between the hours of 3 and 9 p.m.
Furthermore, serious accidents involving adult cyclists – particularly male cyclists – are on the rise overall. As NBC News reports, there were 551 adult male cyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2014, which is the highest since 1975. Deaths involving female cyclists have also risen, although at a much slower pace than those involving male cyclists. New Jersey has also seen an increase in overall cyclist fatalities, with 17 such fatalities last year compared to 11 in 2014.
There are a number of reasons why adults – especially male adults – are accounting for a greater share of bicycle accident fatalities. The most obvious reason is that bike ridership has grown substantially for adults in recent years, whether for health reasons, recreational purposes, or as an alternative to driving. Also, it is possible that male adult riders are less likely to use helmets while biking. In any case, the increase in adult cyclist fatalities has led to calls for greater investment in bike-friendly infrastructure, such as separate bike lanes, as well as laws designed to protect cyclists, such as mandating a minimum amount of space that motorists need to maintain when passing bicycles.
Cyclists and pedestrians can easily suffer serious and even life-threatening injuries if they are struck by a motor vehicle. Such accident victims are often able to pursue financial compensation, but doing so can be complicated. A personal injury attorney can help injured cyclists and pedestrians, including by assisting them with pursuing claims to help them cover the financial expenses created by their accident.