Is Riding a Bike Safer Than Driving a Car?
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other safety experts paint a bleak picture of traffic safety: Nearly 43,000 people were killed in traffic accidents across the United States in 2022 alone. Is the same risk shared across everyone on the road, however? Are auto drivers safer than cyclists given the added protection of riding inside a metal shell, with seatbelts, airbags, and other safety features? Or are bike riders safer on average, given reduced speeds and other factors?
Read on for a discussion of whether riding a bike is safer than driving a car in 2023. If you’ve been involved in a Hudson Valley auto crash or bicycle wreck, call a seasoned Kingston traffic accident lawyer for advice and representation.
Increased Risk of Fatal Accidents on a Bike
Although bicycle trips account for a small percentage of the overall traffic on roads across the United States, cyclists are at an unusually high risk of fatal accidents involving motor vehicles.
According to the National Safety Council, in 2020 alone, 1,260 cyclists were killed in preventable deaths. Of those, 806 cyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic accidents, while 454 bike riders died in other non-traffic accidents. Notably, male riders accounted for 89% of all bicycle deaths, over eight times the fatalities for females.
The same year, over 325,000 bike riders suffered nonfatal cycling injuries.
Dangers Faced by Bike Riders
Everyone on the road faces certain risks, but some hazards are especially pronounced for cyclists. These enhanced dangers contribute to the higher rate of bicycle fatalities. Common bike riding risks include:
● Direct exposure to inclement weather conditions and other hazards
● Reduced visibility, especially during poor weather, rendering riders harder to see by other people on the road
● Dangerous intersections
● Poor road conditions such as potholes, cracks, felled trees, or poorly designed intersections
● Unpredictable pedestrian behavior
● Lack of protection when colliding with an automobile
● Dangerous traffic situations, such as sudden vehicle stops or unexpected car door openings
● Air pollution
The biggest danger for all cyclists on the road, however, is car drivers. If it were just bikes on the road, the rate of injury and fatality for cyclists would drop drastically. Negligent drivers put cyclists at serious risk of injury, and when a bike collides with a car, the bike rider is likely to suffer a serious or fatal injury. The best thing for bicycle safety is for passenger vehicle drivers to drive safely; failing that, bike riders must be especially vigilant and defensive in order to mitigate the risk of an accident.
Trusted Advice and Zealous Representation for Your Hudson Valley Traffic Accident Claim
If you or someone you love has been hurt by a negligent or reckless driver in New York, find out if you’re entitled to monetary damages for your injuries by contacting the diligent and dedicated Hudson Valley car accident lawyers at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a free consultation at 845-331-4100 (Kingston) or 845-236-4411 (Marlboro).