Every year hundreds of bike riders are killed and tens of thousands of others injured in accidents with motor vehicles. Massachusetts is one of the safer states for bicyclists–there were just 10 bicycle fatalities in the most recently reported year. In fact, People Powered Movement, an organization devoted to pedestrian and bicyclist safety, named Boston the second safest city in America for bicyclists. Still, serious bike accidents can and do happen.
Motor vehicle operators can injure and kill bicyclists in many ways. One of the most common causes of bike accidents is distracted driving. When a driver looks away from the road to read a text, dig in her purse for cigarettes, or change the music, it may feel like only a second. But, a distraction like reading a text message typically takes your attention off the road for about five seconds, and a car or truck covers a lot of ground in that time.
Other violations of traffic law such as failure to observe stop signs, failure to signal when turning, and failure to yield to a bicyclist in a bike lane or intersection also increase the risk to bicyclists. When a bicyclist is injured or killed because a driver was negligent, the injured bike rider or surviving family members may be entitled to compensation.
Attorney Kevin J. Broderick represents victims of Massachusetts bike accidents. To learn more about how
Most people killed in bike accidents are adult males: in 2017, 86% of bicyclist fatalities were aged 20 and older. That’s not surprising, since adult riders are more likely to be riding in unfamiliar areas, in heavy traffic, and in other higher-risk situations.
In 2010, 69% of those killed in bike accidents were known not to have been wearing helmets. By 2017, that percentage had dropped to 54%. However, there are a great many unknowns. In 2010 and in 2017, just 16% of bicyclists who were killed are known to have been wearing helmets, and that percentage was relatively stable during the years between.
22% of fatally injured bike riders were legally intoxicated at the time of the crash—that is, had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater. In 2017, 157 intoxicated bicyclists were killed.
While a bicyclist who was intoxicated at the time of the accident was likely at least partially responsible for his own injuries, it’s important to note that contributory negligence does not preclude recovering damages in Massachusetts. If the bike rider was not more than 50% responsible, he may still be entitled to compensation.
In recent years, the percentage of bike accident deaths that occur in urban areas has steadily increased, reaching 75% in 2017. This shift is likely attributable in large part to the increasing popularity of biking as a means of transportation in U.S. cities, and the fact that urban infrastructure in most areas hasn’t caught up with the frequency of bike travel.
About 60% of adult rider fatalities occurred on major but non-interstate roads. While turning corners and crossing streets might seem to present a greater risk for a serious bike accident, just 36% of bicyclist fatalities occurred at intersections.
While the largest number of bike accident deaths happen between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., about half occur during daylight hours. Nationally, the numbers skew slightly toward summer months, but the difference is greater in four-season areas like Massachusetts, where winter weather makes cycling undesirable (or even impossible).
Bicyclists and motorists share responsibility for cyclist safety, and bike riders can take measures to protect themselves. Some examples include wearing helmets, avoiding distractions, not wearing headphones or ear plugs while riding, obeying traffic laws, using bike lanes where available, and refraining from biking while intoxicated. But, even the most cautious bicyclist is at risk from larger, heavier, faster motor vehicles.
If you have been hit by a car or truck while riding a bike, or have lost a loved one in a bike accident, take advantage of a free consultation to learn more about your rights and whether you may be entitled to compensation. Just call 978-459-3085 or fill out the quick contact form in the right sidebar.
Let Attorney Kevin Broderick answer your questions and evaluate your personal injury or vehicle accident case for free!
The information you obtain on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.