In a bustling city with businesses and residential areas so compact, it’s easier and cheaper to forgo a car and invest in a bike.
While many hurried taxi drivers and commuters may find it frustrating to weave through city traffic as it is, those on bikes probably irritate them even more.
According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, more than 49,000
bicyclists have encountered fatal traffic accidents – but that’s including all the accidents since 1932.
For an update on current statistics, the
NCSA has found that the number of pedacyclist fatalities in 2005 (833 deaths) dropped 6 percent since the number of deaths reported in 1995.
While many people ride their bikes for recreational fun and exercise and not for transportation in the suburbs, it’s no surprise that 69 percent of bicyclist deaths happen in urban areas with 31 percent occurring between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
The age in adult bike deaths have increased.
The average age of pedacyclists who were killed in 2005 traffic crashes was 38.5, as opposed to the average age in 1995 which was 29.7.
As Temple’s gates are increasingly lined
with custom bikes to vintage finds, there
have been few accidents actually occurring
“We’re fortunate,” said Campus Police
Capt. Denise Wilhelm. “Bike accidents aren’t a prevalent thing on campus, and I can’t think of one incident being reported this semester.”
While campus streets may not have the
same amount of traffic found in Center City, bike couriers don’t have many severe accidents either.
“Our guys are pretty experienced,” said TimeCycle Courier Service owner Eric Nordberg.
“There’s probably one serious
accident a year. You may scrape your leg or
something, but getting hit by a car – it’s not frequent.”
While serious accidents are often not
reported, bikers still get hit by cars or they are run off the road and suffer damages to their bikes and their bodies.
“[Cyclists] are doored a lot,” said bicycle accident lawyer Stuart Leon. That’s when they get hit by car doors that bike riders don’t anticipate being opened.
“That’s the most common thing that happens,” Leon said. Another common incident is “when [automobile] drivers turn right and they hit people riding alongside the road, or run them off the road.”
Leon also gets a lot of reports from the University of Pennsylvania police involving Penn students and faculty.
“Center City, West Philly and South Philly are where a lot of commuters use bikes to get around,” said Leon.
If you ever get “doored” or run off the road, make sure you can identify the motorist who hit you by noting their license plate number.
“Most of the people I work with are worried
about getting damages paid for their bike first and their doctor bills second,” said Leon.
In the case that a motorist hits a bicyclist or even causes any harm to the bike, the motorist is responsible for paying for the damages done to the rider and the bicycle.
In any case, it’s important to know your rights and to be safe on the road. The roads are made for vehicles, including bicycles, which mean bicyclists must also obey the rules of the road.
Kaitlyn Dreyling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.