Bicycle fatalities have been on the rise across America, and Arkansas riders are also suffering from this trend. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that, after reaching an all-time low in 2010, United States bicycle fatalities have been steadily on the rise. 2015 saw the largest increase in bicycle fatalities in two decades. Learn more about the causes of bicycle accidents, how cyclists can protect themselves, and what legal rights injury victims have after a bicycle accident.
Risk Factors for Bicycle Accidents
The Governors Highway Safety Association report also analyzed injury data to identify risk factors which contribute to these accidents. The demographic data indicates that adults constitute 88% of fatality victims, and are therefore more likely than children to be fatally injured in an accident between a bicycle and a motor vehicle. Men are also six times more likely than women to die in a bicycle crash. Interestingly, the gender differential has been constant since it was first reported in 1975. In the majority of accidents, a motor vehicle driver failed to identify the bicyclist. Bicyclists are more likely to see the motor vehicle before a collision, but expect the driver to yield the right of way. This demonstrates the importance of attentiveness to roadway conditions, which must be shared by all roadway users.
The GHSA also reports that bicycle accidents are often the result of a inattentive driver. In turn, bicyclists are more likely to see drivers, but too often assume that the driver will yield the right of way. Bicyclists should therefore take measures to ensure they are seen in the roadway. Bells and lights should be used as needed to alert drivers to the presence of a bicyclists. Reflective clothing, tape, head lights, and bike reflectors should be used at night and during other times of poor visibility. Bicyclists should never assume that a driver will yield the right of way - even when the driver is legally required to do so. Slow down, make eye contact with the driver, and only proceed with caution when the driver has come to a complete stop. Bicyclists should also use particular caution in parking lots. Drivers have often diverted their attention to the task of backing up or parking, and this can make it even more difficult to see nearby bicyclists.
How Accident Victims Can Protect Their Legal Rights
The Arkansas statutes contain many provisions which give drivers a legal obligation to watch for bicyclists, yield the right of way, and maintain their speed to avoid collisions. For example: Section 27-51-104 prohibits drivers from making improper or unsafe lane changes; failing to maintain control of their vehicle; or driving with inattention that is not reasonable or prudent. Violating this - or any other driving statute makes a driver liable for all damage caused as a result of the violation. An injury victim has the legal right to be compensated for his or her medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage, emotional distress, and any other financial loss which is directly attributable to the driver’s negligence. An experienced Jonesboro bicycle accident attorney will ensure that injury victims receive the compensation to which they are legally entitled.