Southern California is famous for its wonderful weather, and that draws cyclists in droves. However, statistics show that there has been an upswing in bicycle/vehicle fatalities, even as the number of injuries has dropped.
The latest statistics tell us about the kind of people who are prone to bicycle accidents, what caused them and where they are most likely to happen.
The facts as we know them
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 818 people died in bicycle/vehicle accidents in 2015, an increase of 12.2 percent from 2014. During the same period, cyclist injuries fell from 50,000 to 45,000. Keep in mind, however, that only a small number—perhaps 10 percent—of possible bicycle injuries are ever reported, so hospital records only reflect those recorded by the police.
A profile of crash victims
In 1988, the average age of cyclists who died in bicycle/vehicle crashes was 24. By 1998, it was 32, and by 2004, 39. By 2014, the average age of those who died had risen to 45. Of those who were killed, 88 percent were male, and 19 percent exhibited a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.
Leading the nation
Only two states, Vermont and Rhode Island, reported no cyclist fatalities in 2014. On the other hand, Florida led the nation that year with 139 deaths, followed by California with 128. Records show that many of the deaths occurred in urban areas between 6:00 and 8:59 p.m.
Common causes of injuries
A cyclist can suffer injuries by falling off the bike or by hitting a rough patch in the road. There are also injuries that result from simply not paying attention. However, according to the National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors of 2012, almost one-third of the injuries reported are caused by cyclists being struck by vehicles. The driver may have been distracted or drunk. He or she may have turned or pulled out in front of the victim. The bottom line is that there are many motorists in Southern California, and many cyclists. A personal injury attorney will remind riders that they have the same rights as drivers, but unfortunately, cyclists and injuries still get together on a regular basis.