September 13, 2021
A substantial rise in auto accidents is one interesting development related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 38,680 people died in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2020 — the largest number since 2007. This spike occurred even though motorists drove 430 billion fewer miles in 2020 relative to 2021, according to the NHTSA.
Most traffic safety organizations placed the blame for the jump on more aggressive drivers. With traffic at record lows, drivers became emboldened to speed and drive recklessly.
That raises another interesting question: How did all of this affect cyclists?
A recent report from Outside Magazine shed some light on how COVID-19 traffic conditions affected road safety for cyclists. The magazine compiled all available crash data involving cyclists in 2020. Their findings were recently summarized by Advocacy Advance, a safer streets non-profit organization. According to Advocacy Advance, the Outside Magazine study showed the following:
While fewer cars on the road led to fewer cyclist deaths in 2020, the long-term trend remains troubling. Cycling accidents have been on a sustained ten-year increase, with 2018 ranking as the worst year in history for cyclist fatalities.
While 2019 offered a slight respite, as traffic volume returns to normal levels, cycling incidents are also returning to their prior levels. Cyclists should continue to practice situational awareness, advocate for safer shared streets — and use the legal system to defend their rights when necessary.
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.