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Serious Bicycle Crash Injuries Hit 18-Year High

Massachusetts Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Massachusetts has released its 2023 Vulnerable Road User Safety Assessment, and the news isn’t good for bicyclists. Both bicycle fatalities and serious bike accident injuries in the state fluctuate from year to year rather than trending steadily in one direction or the other, both were up in the most recent report.

The report covers 19 years of data, from 2004 through 2022. The nine reported fatal bicyclist-motor vehicle accident crashes in 2022 put that year only slightly above the 19-year average of 8.3, and far below the 2012 high of 16. Bicyclist deaths were in the double digits in eight of the 19 years reported. Serious injuries, on the other hand, hit a high for the reported period. And, the 125 serious injuries in 2022 far exceeded the 19-year average of 102.8.

Of course, it’s not enough to know that serious bicycle injuries are up. The state also looked at when and where most bicycle accidents resulting in death or serious injury happen.

Most Dangerous Cities and Towns for Bicyclists

Just 5% of Massachusetts municipalities accounted for 38% of the bike accidents resulting in death or serious injury. These include:

  • Boston
  • Cambridge
  • Somerville
  • Brookline
  • Waltham
  • Lawrence
  • Chelsea
  • Lynn
  • Everett
  • Lowell
  • Medford
  • Springfield
  • Quincy
  • Malden
  • Revere
  • Newton
  • Fall River

Where and How Serious Bicycle Accidents Happen in Massachusetts

Most motor vehicle accidents in which a bicyclist was killed or seriously injured happened in urban areas. More than ¾ occurred during daylight hours, and more than half happened at intersections.

Most serious bicycle accidents happened when the driver was traveling straight ahead, including 55% of those that occurred at intersections. 31% of serious bike crashes at intersections happened when the driver was turning left. Construction of the intersection had an impact, too. In 64% of serious intersection bike accidents, there were curbs on both sides of the road.

90% of serious non-intersection bike wrecks happened on two-lane roads. Though that percentage is high, it doesn’t necessarily mean that two-lane roads are more dangerous for bicyclists, since it’s similar to the percentage of roadway miles two-lane roads make up. 74% occurred on locally owned roads, which is slightly lower than the percentage of road miles that are locally owned. A disproportionate number of serious and fatal bicycle accidents also happen near schools.

Responsibility for Bicycle Accidents

It’s clear that environmental factors such as where you are on the road and the construction of the road play a role in serious bicycle accidents. But, this data leaves out two of the most important variables in a car-bicycle collision: the driver and the bicyclist. Nearly all bicycle accidents, like motor vehicle accidents generally, happen at least in part because someone was negligent. That negligence can take many forms, including:

  • A driver speeding
  • A driver passing a bicyclist without sufficient space between them
  • Either a driver or a bicyclist failing to yield the right of way
  • Either a driver or bicyclist disregarding a stop sign or traffic signal
  • Either a driver or bicyclist getting distracted on the road
  • Either a driver or bicyclist operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol

If you were hit by a negligent driver while riding your bicycle, that driver is likely legally responsible for your injuries. That means you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages.

If you were also negligent and partly responsible for the accident, you may still be entitled to some compensation. Whether you can still collect damages and in what amount will depend on what percentage of responsibility is assigned to you. If it’s more than half, you can’t collect. If it’s less than half, you can still collect, but your award will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility. For instance, if you are found 40% responsible, you’ll only be able to collect 60% of your damages.

Free Consultations

To schedule a free consultation with attorney Kevin P. Broderick, just call 978-459-3085 right now. Kevin has been helping people who were injured in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for decades, and can provide the knowledge, guidance, and determination you need.

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