Cycling continues to grow more popular every year.
Federal data shows cyclist fatalities on the roads have increased almost every year over the last decade.
So what can we do to demand safer streets for everyone? A recent blog post from Cycling.com lists eight actionable steps that people can take right now to create better environment for cyclists.
- No Texting While Driving. Cycling.com notes that technology exists to disable texting while cars are in motion, while the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration “recently announced design guidelines for car and phone companies to create a kind of “Driver Mode” that’s akin to airplane or do-not-disturb settings.” Both of these steps would help protect cyclists from one of the biggest dangers they face.
- Better Driver’s Ed. Today, roughly 30 states require driver’s ed for motorists under 18 and the curriculum is not always comprehensive. Cycling.com notes that, in several state curriculums, “dooring” is never mentioned despite being a significant cause of cyclist crashes. They advise all states to emphasize dooring and a simple solution: the Dutch Reach, where drivers open their door with their right hand when parallel parked.
- Fight for Stronger Laws: Here’s a stat they may surprise you: Only 12% of drivers are punished in collisions leading to cyclist fatalities. Stronger laws (and jail time rather than fines and probation) would help get drivers to pay more attention.
- More Infrastructure: According to Cycling.com “a 2019 study from the University of Colorado tracked safety statistics in 13 U.S. cities and found that protected bike lanes actually helped reduce crash rates not just for cyclists, but for drivers too, and that the lanes themselves are the most probable reason for the change.” These findings mean we need cities to fulfill their promises to keep building better infrastructure.
- Ride Responsibly: Safety is not all up to cities or car and truck drivers. Cyclists themselves must ensure they have situational awareness and proceed carefully and responsibly.
- Report Hostile Drivers. Hostile drivers tend to be repeat bad actors, so it is important to take a stand. Cycling.com encourages cyclists to “call in a report giving the best description you can of the vehicle, license plate, occupants, incident, and direction the harasser is headed. (If you’re in imminent danger, call 911 instead.) Use a POV or cell phone camera if you can; the evidence is usually admissible in court.” Sounds like great advice!
- Stay Visible: Cycling.com notes that a study from Denmark published in 2013 found that riders with daytime running lights were 19 percent less likely to be hit by drivers than a control group without. This is more evidence that visibility is critical, especially near dusk or dawn or in foggy conditions.
Keep Pedaling: A 2016 study in Hong Kong found that when drivers see more cyclists in a particular part of town, they drive more carefully there. This finding has been replicated elsewhere, giving credence to the notion that drivers are more cautious when they regularly share the road with cyclists
Finding the Right Bicycle Accident Attorney
Gary Brustin is a lifelong cyclist and a specialist in bicycle accident law. In fact, these are the only types of cases he accepts. If you’ve been injured in a collision, we urge you to contact Gary for a complimentary consultation.