Whether a person rides a bicycle as a means of transportation, a fitness tool, or for pure enjoyment, our Hickory car accident attorneys want to remind motorists that roadways are becoming highly populated with bicyclists, so please use extra caution when you spot them on North Carolina roadways.
Star News Online reports that several recent car accidents in North Carolina involving bicyclists have alerted authorities to just how dangerous roadways are becoming. More than one accident recently has been caused by a bicyclist confused by the rules of the road when the riders thought they had the right of way but didn’t.
New Hanover County is by far the most dangerous county to report bicycle-vehicle crashes in North Carolina from 2004 to 2008. The average yearly crash rate for New Hanover County is 2.5 per 10,000 people in relation to the next highest crash rate at 1.9 in Orange and Robeson counties during this period. From 2004 to 2008, New Hanover County reported the fourth most bicycle-vehicle crashes of all counties in North Carolina. Considering the population for New Hanover County is much less, these are not statistics to be commended.
According to bicyclinginfo.org, there has been a 17 percent decrease in bicyclist deaths from 1998 to 2009. However, there were 53,000 bicyclist injuries in 1998 compared to 51,000 injuries in 2009, representing only a 4 percent decrease. Alarmingly, it is estimated that only 10 percent of bicycle crashes causing an injury are reported to police departments, a primary source for crash data.
Educating motorists and bicyclists is key to keeping the number of accidents to a minimum. If bicyclists and motorists learn the proper rules, responsibilities and rights of the roadway, it can help ensure the safety of all concerned. Respect is the first step. A motorist and bicyclist who each shows respect for the other is able to share roadways safely.
Motorists should keep an eye out for cyclists at night; learn how to pass them safely by allowing a minimum of 3 feet of space and be aware of bike lanes and how to maneuver around them. Motorists need to stay in control when adverse weather strikes and realize that cycling in poor weather conditions is a challenge that needs extra attention so as not to alarm a cyclist needing to focus their attention in these conditions.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation has developed a series of bicycling maps to help adventurers work their way across the state safely. Regional and local maps can help bikers get in and around a city, but highway maps are meant for bicycling tours and involve hundreds of miles of travel on highways and interstates. Motorists are advised to be aware of which highways are utilized most for these tours so that you can use extra caution when you stumble upon a bicyclist out on a quest.
The accident attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. are experienced in handling cases for victims of bicycling or car accidents in North Carolina. Call 1-800-887-1965 for a free and confidential appointment to learn about your rights today.
Stats show bicyclists at high risk on Wilmington roads, by Julian March, Star News Online.
More Blog Entries:
Autumn Distractions Cause Risk for Car Accidents in Statesville, Statewide, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, October 17, 2011.
Mapping a Safe Route to School Can Reduce Child Injuries Related to Pedestrian or Bicycling Accidents in Charlotte, Gastonia, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 24, 2011.
Government Funding to Help Reduce Risk of Bicycling and Pedestrian Injuries in North Carolina, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 3, 2011.