How learning from fatal bike crash data may save your life

Statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that 818 bike riders were involved in fatal crashes with cars in 2015. This marked over a 12 percent increase from 2014's numbers. While bicyclist death rates increased from one year to the next, the injury rate decreased by 5,000 to around 45,000 during the same time frame.

A bicyclist's risk of becoming involved in a bike crash increases as night falls when visibility is poor. In fact, NHTSA data shows that at least 20 percent of all fatal bike crashes happen starting just after 6 and on up until 9 p.m.

The less experienced a bicyclist is, the more likely he or she is to become involved in a crash. NHTSA data from 2014 shows, however, that the age of a bicyclist most likely to become involved in a fatal crash with a car hovered at around 45 that year. Nearly 25 years prior in 1988, the average age of an individual that died in a bike crash was 24. That same year, nearly 90 percent of those who lost their lives in these crashes were men.

Whether a roadway is equipped with a sidewalk, bike lane or other safe place for the bicyclist to ride within greatly impacts his or her crash risk as does traffic congestion. NHTSA data shows that at least 71 percent of bicyclists who suffer fatal injuries do so in areas that are urban.

Impairments, whether is be from alcohol or drugs, or distractions from cellphones have been shown to lead to increases in fatal crash rates as well.

According to the NHTSA, in 2014, 19 percent of bicyclists who died in crashes tested as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or in excess of 0.08 percent. Of all fatal bicycle accidents that year, 35 percent of them involved either the motorist or the bicyclists having a BAC higher than that same legal limit.

California came in second nationwide in terms of fatal bicyclist crashes at 128 in 2014. Florida took first place with 139.

If you've lost a loved one in a bike crash, then a Vista, California, bicycle accident attorney may advise you of your right to sue the motorist who struck him or her for damages, to include funeral expenses.

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