When it comes to bike safety on the roadways, several disturbing facts demonstrate how some often overlooked concepts, which are easy to address when thought about, often lead to serious injury or death for bicyclists. Occasionally, something fundamental is missed by somebody riding a bicycle, but more often than not, a motorist driving a car performing a dismissive action winds up at fault. Since just about nobody wants to be the cause of another person’s death or the cause of his or her own death, we’ll review some facts about bike and pedestrian safety in Minnesota, and how drivers can do a better job of sharing the roads with bicyclists.
Bicycle Statistics on the Roadways
Minnesota’s average yearly death toll for vehicle-pedestrian accidents is around 39 pedestrian deaths per year, with 7 of those deaths being bicyclists killed as a result of colliding with a motor vehicle. What is, in fact, alarming about this situation is that many, if not all, of these deaths could be avoided with a little more effort, attention, and forethought on the part of both the pedestrian and the driver.
Pedestrians and bicyclists make up about 12% of all traffic fatalities every year in Minnesota. Of those pedestrian deaths in Minnesota, about 69% of all fatal crashes happen in busy, urban areas. So, that fact places emphasis on the need for motorists to pay more attention to pedestrians in urban areas. Unfortunately, though, sometimes the pedestrians themselves are the cause of their own demises, and drivers need to be aware of the risks associated with driving near pedestrians. At least 35% of pedestrians and 18% of bicyclists killed in traffic accidents yearly have consumed alcohol. Also, about 19% of pedestrians killed were not crossing properly.
Sharing the Road
As far as bicycle safety concerns itself, both bicyclists and motorists are responsible for bicycle safety. In fact, the leading contributor to most bicycle-vehicle collisions is a failure to yield the right of way by either the motorist or the bicyclist. That means that paying a little more attention on the road can go a long way for both motorists and bicyclists. Motorists also need to be aware that about 50% of all bicycle-vehicle collisions are due to a bevy of behaviors caused by the bicyclist, like ignoring traffic signs and signals. On the other hand, the other 50% of accidents are a result of motorist behaviors like distraction and not paying attention.
So, when you are driving and sharing the road with bicyclists, make sure that you are paying attention to the right of way, and be willing to yield it anytime you see a pedestrian. That way, you avoid being at-fault for any accidents, and for the most part, you should be able to avoid collisions with bicyclists in general. Giving bicyclists the right-of-way will help ensure their safety on the road. Also, yielding the right-of-way to bicyclists, especially in urban areas, becomes important because most accidents between motorists and bicyclists occur in urban areas.