A growing number of people throughout New York City are choosing to shun getting around via car and riding bicycles instead. This can save them money on transportation costs and help them get in better physical shape. However, that does not come without a price.
Bicyclists are at greater risk of injury and loss of life if they are in a collision with an automobile. As recent statistics show, fatal bike crashes are on the rise and city officials and safety advocates are trying to forge strategies to make the roads safer for riders.
Bicycle fatalities are the worst in nearly 25 years
Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets conducted a study to assess the number of bicycle accidents and fatalities in New York. It found that the bicycle death numbers are the worst since 1999. There have been 25 rider fatalities since the start of the year.
The lack of bike lanes is cited as a factor as 94% of the fatalities happened on these streets. Bike lanes are in place to give both motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists a guideline of where they should be when sharing the road. There has been a concerted effort to add bike lanes to city streets, but only 3% have them. Bike lanes have lowered the chance of accidents with injuries and death by more than 18%.
The kinds of vehicles riders are sharing the road with is also a factor. Since so many people drive SUVs, it is important to note that these automobiles are most commonly associated with pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. This is believed to be due to their size and that drivers have trouble seeing objects directly in front of them.
The increase in pedestrian deaths comes about simultaneously to pedestrian fatalities declining. The numbers encompass the first three-quarters of the year and found that pedestrian accidents have been the lowest since 2014 when the “Vision Zero” program went into effect. Vision Zero has the stated objective of eliminating road deaths completely. Despite that, bicyclists are being hurt and killed at a worrisome rate.
It is important to act quickly after an auto accident
Bicyclists who have been injured and family members left behind need to be aware of what to do in the aftermath. Getting medical care is obviously a priority. Still, there are other areas to address. For example, understanding the time constraints, how to pursue compensation from the insurance company and filing the claim quickly are also key. Given the long-term personal, professional and financial implications after an auto accident, it is wise to know what can be done to make a full recovery.