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Bicycle Accidents in Kentucky and Nationwide

Bicycling is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to get around. Not only that, but biking is a great form of exercise. While biking is a great means of transportation, the reality is that bicyclists face serious danger while on the road. Kentucky bicycle accidents are more common than most cyclists realize, and frequently result in serious, debilitating injuries. While there are some steps that bicyclists can take to decrease the chance of being involved in an accident, the fact is that some bicycle accidents are unavoidable from the biker’s perspective.

In 2017, 783 bicyclists killed in traffic accidents in the United States. This figure is down from 852 in 2016 and 829 in 2015. In 2017, 53 children under the age of 14 were killed in bicycle accidents; 43 of those victims were boys and 10 girls. In Kentucky, of the 782 traffic fatalities, seven involved bicyclists. However, there are between 275 to 350 bicycle crashes in Kentucky each year that result in injury to the rider.

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Even though the number of fatalities goes up or down each year, the percentage of fatalities caused by bicycle accidents compared to all fatal traffic accidents continues to increase

Currently, it is about 2.2 percent nationwide and 0.9 percent in Kentucky. 75 percent of all bicycle accidents occur in urban areas. Alcohol was involved in 37 percent of all fatal bicycle accidents. Pedestrians and bicyclists are four times more likely to be injured in an accident if a motorist is speeding. Men are almost five time more likely than women to be involved in a bicycle accident. The most common vehicles involved in a fatal bicycle accident are light trucks (44 percent). Most accidents occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

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Precautions bicyclists can take to reduce the chance of being involved in an accident

Motorists and bicyclists share the responsibility to prevent bicycle accidents. Thus, cyclists should take certain precautions both before getting on their bike and while they are on the road to decrease the chance of a serious or fatal traffic accident. Below is a list of safety measures bikers can take:

Wear a helmet–Wearing a helmet does not reduce the chances of a bike accident, but helmet use has been shown to significantly mitigate the damages a bicycle accident victim suffers. While Kentucky law does not require the use of a helmet, it is still a good idea to wear one every time you get on a bike.

Be extra vigilant at night–The majority of bicycle crashes occur between the hours of six to nine in the evening. Primarily, this is because these are the hours where visibility is low and bicycle traffic is still high.

Follow the rules of the road–Under Kentucky law, bicycles are considered vehicles and must follow all traffic laws and posted traffic signs. With that said, bicyclists can ride on the road’s shoulder and are permitted to ride two abreast when riding in a lane of traffic. Bicyclists should travel in a marked bike lane whenever feasible.

Drive predictably–Motorists can better gauge a bicyclists future behavior if a cyclist rides in a consistent manner. Bicyclists should minimize riding on the sidewalk, and should avoid switching between riding on the sidewalk and the street. When there is a bike lane present, riders should stay within the lane at all times.

Obtain the proper equipment–Kentucky law requires bicyclists equip their bikes with certain equipment, including lights when riding in the dark, reflectors, brakes, and a bell or horn.

The above list is not exhaustive, as there are many additional safety measures cyclists can take. While bicyclists should do everything they can to avoid injury, the ultimate duty to avoid anaccident does not rest solely with cyclists. Motorists also have a duty to ensure the safe operation of their vehicle when driving around bicycles.

Causes of Kentucky bike crashes

Bicycle accidents are often caused by motorist-related issues; however, some crashes are the result of poorly designed or maintained roads. In most cases, bike accidents are preventable with the exercise of due care, either on the part of the motorist, the cyclist, or the government entity responsible for the design and maintenance of the road. Below is a list of common causes of bicycle accidents:

Drunk and drugged driving accidents–DUI accidents are among the most common type of Kentucky bike accident. In fact, about 15 percent of all fatal DUI bike crashes involved driver intoxication. Of course, bicyclist intoxication also plays a role in bringing about these accidents.

Distracted driving accidents–Distracted driving is a term used to describe a broad range of dangerous driving habits that remove a motorist’s attention from the road. The list of common distractions includes, talking on the phone, texting, grooming, eating, reading, talking to passengers, controlling the radio or GPS, daydreaming and dealing with young children in the back of the vehicle.

Failure to yield–Motorists are often unaware of their duty to yield to bicyclists, which increases the chances of a serious bicycle crash. Under Kentucky law, bicycles are considered “vehicles.” Thus, bicyclists have a right to use the road and motorists must yield to cyclists as they would other vehicles. At the same time, bicyclists must follow the traffic laws when on the road.

Speeding–Speeding increases the risk of collision between a vehicle and a bicycle. In fact, the chance of a pedestrian dying from a crashwith another vehicle increases from eight percent at 31 miles per hour to 50 percent at 47 miles per hour.

Inadequate separation–Bicyclists are safest when there is ample distance between the biker and passing motorists. If there is no bike lane and the road is narrow or congested, this increases the risk of a bicycle accident.

Regardless of the cause, bicycle accident victims are entitled to pursue a claim against the party or parties they believe to be responsible for their injuries. Kentucky bike accident victims should discuss their case with an experienced personal injury attorney to better understand their rights and how they can pursue a claim for compensation.

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The lawyers & staff at Hessig & Pohl are here for you

Contact us at (502) 777-1111 for a free consultation.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident in the Louisville area, you need experienced personal injury lawyers on your side. Hessig & Pohl is ready to help you. One of the reasons why Hessig & Pohl is such a popular choice among Kentucky accident victims is that our representation does not cost you anything out-of-pocket. From the initial consultation all the way up through trial, you will not pay us anything. We will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you recover the compensation that you deserve.