Spike in bicyclist deaths has two-wheeled travelers ducking for cover

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” If an incident report was filled out, do I have a right to receive a copy?”


Scenes and outtakes from countless television shows and movies have shown cyclists speeding past people jogging or skating alongside the sands of Southern California beaches. Many of these have featured the twenty-or-so mile paved Marvin Braude Bicycle Path that runs from Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles south to Torrance.

Bike Lane Charlotte North Carolina Injury Lawyer North Carolina Car Accident AttorneyCyclists may enjoy a relative safety on the seaside paths, but inland things have gotten downright tragic for bicycle riders. California saw 338 cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles between 2010 and 2012, according to a report issued Monday by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Florida lagged not far behind Golden State, reporting 329 cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles in the same period.

Bicyclist deaths nationwide increased by 16-percent between 2010 and 2012, according to the report, but Florida and California reported the largest increases in deaths.

Allen Williams, a scientist who worked at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, compiled the report. He observed what he described as “remarkable changes” in the profile of those killed in crashes involving bicycles and cars. Adult males accounted for 74-percent of bicyclists killed in 2012. In 1975, by comparison, only 21-percent of bicyclists killed were adults of either gender.

Two-thirds of bicyclists killed in 2012 were not wearing helmets, while nearly a third of those killed registered a blood-alcohol content of .08 or more.

Williams could not say why bicycle fatalities had increased in recent years, with a spike in 2012 to 722 total deaths. He pointed to evidence that could suggest an increase in bicycle commuting had led to an increase in exposure of cyclists to urban traffic.

The report itself pointed to the design of the urban roadway system as a possible factor in the spike in deaths. “Roads,” the report provided, “were built to accommodate motor vehicles with little concern for pedestrians and bicyclists.” Efforts to integrate bicycles into the roadway system’s already-built environment have proved challenging.

The report suggested that bicyclists will only be safe where they are physically separated from motor vehicles, on “cycle paths” that either run alongside motor vehicle roadways or independent of them.

The City of Charlotte has been taking steps to make the Queen City more bike friendly, marking off bike lanes on crowded roadways that are separated from motor vehicle traffic, erecting bicycle maintenance stands for bicyclists experiencing equipment malfunctions, and installing so-called “bike boxes” at crowded intersections. The “bike boxes” notify motor vehicle operators to stop before entering the boxes—marked by green paint—and reduce the risk of potential movement conflicts.

These measures—bicycle enthusiasts hope—will make like a little easier for bicyclists. If it seems like things are only getting worse, bike-lovers can take heart. The 2012 total cycling deaths was still dramatically below the high of 1,003 registered in 1975, the year in which researchers began studying the data.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of someone’s negligent or intentional conduct, please do not hesitate to contact me to set up an appointment today. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.



About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.










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