Bicycle Accident Statistics and Trends in Maryland
With the Baltimore/Washington D.C. metro area ranking third in terms of the worst areas for traffic, it is no wonder that many people commute and do personal errands by bike. Others ride to enjoy the fresh air, get some exercise, and reduce their carbon footprint. Whatever your reason may be, it is worthwhile to understand the risks, causes, and factors that contribute to bicycle accidents
- On average, a dozen people are killed, and more than 700 bike riders are injured in the 830 bicycle accidents that occur in the state every year.
- Together, Baltimore County and Baltimore City comprise almost 40% of all bicycle collision statewide.
- There is an injury or fatality involved with almost 80% of the bicycle accidents that happen in Baltimore annually.
- The most dangerous days to be out riding a bike are Saturday and Sunday, when around 25% of accidents occur.
- Almost half of all bicyclist fatalities happen on weekends.
Additional Statistics on Bicycle Collisions
A closer look at figures from across the U.S., with particular focus on child victims, shows how dangerous bicycle accidents can be.
- Every year, a total of 467,000 people in the US are injured during bike-riding activities.
- Children 18 years and younger represent more than half of all injured victims, as approximately 300,000 will visit the emergency room for treatment of bike crash injuries. Around 100 children are killed due to bicycle accidents annually.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that almost 850 individuals of all ages die in bicycle accidents in the US.
- The number of fatalities has been gradually climbing in recent years. The highest on record was 965 bicycle crash fatalities in 1908, and the lowest number was 623 in 2010.
- A bicyclist is 45% less likely to suffer severe head trauma by wearing a helmet. The risk of a child sustaining brain injury decreases by 33% with a helmet.
- Throughout the year, the most likely time period for fatal bike accidents is between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- Riding your bike in the city is far more dangerous, as 78% of deaths occur in urban sectors and 22% are in rural locations.
- Drunk bike riding plays a critical role in fatal bicycle accidents. In 2019, 25% of victims had consumed alcohol before pedaling.
How Bicycle Accidents Happen
Knowing when and where they occur is helpful, and the above data gives you some insight on demographics. You can also protect yourself when you understand HOW bike collisions happen and the factors that may contribute to these incidents. In general, any traffic-related accident is usually caused by driver negligence. Beyond the everyday meaning, this term is a specific concept in the practice of law. To prevail in a claim, you need to show that the bicycle crash was the direct result of a motorist’s failure to drive safely. For example, a driver may be negligent by:
- Running a red light or stop sign;
- Failing to yield while you are riding along the right shoulder or in a designated bike lane;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Texting, talking on the phone, and unlawful cell phone use; and,
- Other forms of distracted driving, including eating, adjusting the radio, or digging through a bag.
Legal Remedies for Injured Bicycle Riders
Just as you would if you were injured in a car crash, you will pursue compensation by filing a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. In some cases, you may be able to resolve your claim by out-of-court settlement. Still, you may encounter challenges when dealing with an insurer. These companies are in business for profit, and your claim represents a loss. Instead of paying out, the insurer may deny your claim or make a lowball counteroffer to settle. In some bike crash claims, the insurer will contest liability or assert that you were at fault.
Unfortunately, the company may have a solid case for denying compensation if you run afoul of Maryland’s law on contributory negligence. This rule states that a victim is barred from obtaining monetary damages if he or she was also negligent in causing the incident. Because bicycle riders are required to comply with applicable traffic laws, you might not recover compensation if you:
- Did not stay to the right side of the road when riding;
- Biked through a red light or stop sign;
- Engaged in “lane splitting,” i.e., riding your bicycle between lanes of traffic that is stopped or slowed;
- Rode your bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Veered out of a designated bike lane;
- Failed to install proper lighting to increase visibility at night; or,
- Neglected to use hand signals or other indications when turning.
You can see from this overview that bike collisions are far too common, but tragic circumstances can be even worse when you encounter challenges in the legal process. To avoid putting your rights at risk, please speak with one of our attorneys to get a no-cost consultation today