Results published in the annual Texas Department of Transportation (TxDot) crash statistics show an alarming trend for bicycle safety, as 26% more bicyclists died in crashes in 2018 than the year before. With 72 bicyclist fatalities in total, Texas’ bicyclist fatality rate has reached an unprecedented high. And until the safety and government organization can determine what caused this sudden spike in fatalities, they’ll be hard-pressed to resolve the issue.
More puzzling is that there wasn’t a corresponding increase in the overall number of bicycle accidents. Total bike crashes were down from 2017. Texas had fewer bicycle crashes than previous years, but our state experienced significantly more bicyclist fatalities.
Keep reading to learn more about bicycle safety and what to do if you or a loved one has been the victim of a bicycle crash in Texas.
Risk Factors in Fatal Bike Crashes
According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are a few demographics, physical locations, and other factors that increase the risk of a fatal bike crash.
- 50 to 59-year-olds make up the largest age group of bicycle fatalities
- Males are 6 times more likely to die in a bike crash
- Urban areas are the most dangerous for bicycle fatalities
- Non-intersections pose more of a risk than intersections
- 37% of bicyclist fatalities involved alcohol use by either participant
- Fatalities occurred most often between 6 pm and 9 pm
“While it might be tempting to get your children a bike that’s a bit big for them to save money as they keep growing, this can make riding more difficult for them to control. Adults who are riding incorrectly sized bikes are also at risk.”
Follow these 5 tips to help keep you and your family safe when you’re out on your bicycles.
1. Obey Traffic and Bicyclist Laws
One of the best ways to stay safe while riding (and strengthen your personal injury claim) is to understand and obey the laws that govern cyclists. Here are some legal regulations to keep in mind:
- Bicyclists are expected to follow the same rules as other road users. This includes obeying traffic control signs and lights.
- Some cities in Texas have mandatory helmet laws for minors.
- If on a road, bicyclists must ride on the right side as close to the curb as possible.
2. Wear Your Bicycle Helmet
Texas does not require adults to wear bike helmets, and only certain cities require minors to wear them. However, research shows that wearing a helmet reduces your chance of sustaining a fatal head injury by 65%. If you need another reason to wear your helmet, consider the fact that you’ll have a significantly easier time convincing your children to wear one if you do.
3. Make Yourself Visible and Noticeable When Riding a Bike
If you can, avoid riding your bike at night. If you have to ride at night, always wear reflective clothing and attach lights to your bike. Additionally, wearing bright-colored clothing during the day will make you more noticeable to vehicles. Attaching a bell to your bike can also be useful for getting the attention of other cyclists, pedestrians, and even cars.
4. Communicate With Other Road Users
Signal your intentions to other bikes and motor vehicles on the road. This is typically done with hand motions. Verbal and non-verbal communication is essential for biking safely. Communication includes bells, calls like “on your left” when passing, and making eye contact with drivers before crossing at a crosswalk or making a turn.
5. Be Properly Fitted When Riding Your Bicycle
Wearing a bike helmet that fits you properly will maximize the likelihood that it can save you from a fatal head injury. But ensuring the proper fit of your equipment doesn’t end with your helmet. It’s also important that the bicycle is the correct size for the rider. While it might be tempting to get your children a bike that’s a bit big for them to save money as they keep growing, this can make riding more difficult for them to control. Adults who are riding incorrectly sized bikes are also at risk.
Crosley Law | Fighting for Texas Bicycle Accident Victims
At Crosley Law, we understand the dangers bicyclists face on Texas roadways, even when following all the necessary precautions.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a bicycle crash, our experienced bicycle and motor vehicle accident attorneys might be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. We have experience in personal injury and wrongful death claims that deal with a full spectrum of motor vehicle accident scenarios, so please reach out today for help.
Bicycle safety. (15 June 2017). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Motor Vehicle Safety. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/bicycle/index.html
Bicycle safety. (20 June 2019). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety
Creighton, P., & Olivier, J. (21 July 2016). Bicycle injuries and helmet use: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Epidemiology, 46(1), 278–292. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/46/1/278/2617198#78365578
Texas motor vehicle traffic crash facts calendar year 2018. (6 May 2019). Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.txdot.gov/government/enforcement/annual-summary.html
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.