Rising Bicycle Accident Fatalities Are a Cause of Concern

Bicyclists in California enjoy some of the most pleasant riding weather anywhere in the country. Unfortunately, they ride in conditions that are very often hostile to their safety. In this state, bicycle safety has never been a priority issue, and the results are clear to see in statistics released recently by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Those statistics indicate that there has been a significant increase of 23 fatalities, in the number of bicyclists killed in accidents in California between 2010 and 2012.

In 2010, California posted 100 bicycle accident fatalities and that number had increased to 115 by 2011, and 123 by 2012. In fact, California is only mirroring a nationwide trend in which there has been a 16 % increase in the number of bicycle fatalities. California is one of a few states, which posted significant increases in the number of bicycle accident fatalities over this period of time. In fact, fatalities increased in 22 states while they dropped in 23 states. In California, bicyclist fatalities constituted 4.3% of all traffic fatalities.

The Governors Highway Safety Association blames lax helmet usage laws, and poor rates of helmet usage by bicyclists for those high fatality numbers. It also blames an increase in the number of alcohol-impaired bicyclists. According to the statistics, a large number of bicyclists killed in accidents had blood-alcohol concentrations that were higher than the legal permissible level for driving. Approximately 28% of bicyclists who were killed in accidents in 2012 had blood-alcohol concentration of about .08%. Interestingly enough, during the same time, there was a sharp decline in the number of persons who operated vehicles under the influence of alcohol.

Bicyclists could be just as in danger of an accident when they’re riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol as when they are behind the wheel of a car.

Why Bicycle Share Programs Increase Safety

A number of cities around the in the country, including some in California now have bike share programs in place. These programs generate more interest in bicycling, and also appeal to bicycle enthusiasts. Statistics from around the country indicate that persons who use these bike share programs are much less likely to be involved in accidents, injuries or fatalities, compared to those who use their own bicycles.

It is a fitting reply to critics who believe that bike check programs simply increase the number of bicyclists in a city, and therefore increase the number of accidents involving bicyclist. Critics of bicycle share programs around the country have always argued that American cities lack bicycle safety infrastructure, and therefore, encouraging bike share programs would simply increase accident risks.

However, their fears have not come true at all. In the cities where bike share programs have been launched, the safety rate has been very impressive. Bicyclists who bike in these programs are believed to have a lower rate of accidents, injuries and fatalities, compared to those who are not using these bikes.

In California, Anaheim was the first city to have a bike sharing program. Across the country, several cities including Boston, New York and Seattle have their own programs, which have been very successful. Studies seem to indicate that people who ride bicycles in a bike share program are very often novice bicyclists who follow all traffic safety rules.

Bicycles that are available in a bike share program tend to be more visible to motorists, because of their unique design. They’re also designed to reduce the risk of excessive speeds. In other words, these are safer bicycles operated by bicyclists who are usually new to bicycling, and are therefore much more likely to avoid busy streets. Therefore, bicycle share programs actually contribute to a safer bicycling environment in a city.

Prosthetic Hand Provides Amputees with Sensation

Advancements in prosthetics technologies have meant an increasing number of devices that make it easy for people not only to use their hands for functional purposes, but also to feel, and sense objects.

New trials that are being conducted at the Case Western University and the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cleveland have focused on the development of limbs for persons who have lost hands. Two patients who lost limbs are participating in the trial, and one of those persons has been fitted with a new prosthetic hand. According to him, the hand allows him to feel objects when he touches them. This person had lost his sense of touch after the loss of his hand in an accident at work. He continued to experience frequent phantom pain.

Now, he can feel pressure, and textures using his prosthetic hand. He now has sensation on the thumb and index finger. Most of the phantom pain has disappeared since the fitting of the prosthetic limb.

According to the researchers, they are focusing on restoring the sense of touch in amputees. The prosthetic limb works by connecting the prosthetic hand to a contact point that has been embedded into cuffs. These cuffs are located around the nerve bundles of the arm. Apart from giving the amputees the sense of touch, the limbs feel perfectly normal, and allow them to have much more control over their functions. Amputees are also able to do more using their prosthetic hands, compared to earlier devices.

Bicyclists who have suffered limb loss, or limb amputations as a result of accidents or injuries, now have access to much more advanced prosthetics that can help them live a normal life and perform basic and routine functions. If you have suffered a serious injury in a bicycle accident, you are likely eligible for compensation for your injuries. Speak to a California bicycle accident lawyer about the damages you can recover.