NHTSA Report Indicates a Decrease in Cycling Fatality Rates in Latest Data
San Francisco, CA
A report released in by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found encouraging news in the grim annual toll of cycling fatalities: 630 "pedalcyclists" were killed in 2009, down twelve percent from the 718 fatalities reported in 2008. The overall accident trend is also down two percent, with 51,000 cyclists injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2009, compared with 52,000 cyclists injured in 2008. The NHTSA figures are collected annually, but the 2009 data is the latest to be published by the government.
Road ID founder Edward Wimmer noted, "It's a difficult issue to talk about, especially given the recent death of 19-year-old cyclist Megan Babb, but we are in the position of hearing about accidents literally every day, so these new figures are somewhat encouraging. The data can be a bit hard to find, but we hope by bringing it to the attention of the bike community, we can add our voice to the critical need for bike safety in our national transportation planning."
Cycling fatalities account for just two percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities and injuries, with the largest percentage of these accidents occurring during the daylight hours between 4 a.m. and 8 p.m. (29%). Around 70 percent of fatalities in both 2008 and 2009 occurred in urban locations, with males making up the majority of this population (87%).
Bob Mionske, a former U.S. Olympian in cycling and a leading lawyer for cyclists, said, "While I'm not ready to call this a trend yet, continued advocacy from the cycling community may be making a difference and can only help decrease these numbers."
With winter in full swing, Road ID has posted a comprehensive series of safety videos on its website with tips for drivers and cyclists called Rules of the Road. Here are a few select tips to help cyclists and drivers navigate the roads safely.
Obey all traffic laws: Stop at stoplights and stop signs. Signal your turns. Ride in a straight, predictable manner, keeping to the right -- but not so far right that you risk hitting the curb or debris. And always be alert for a car door opening in your path.
Be aware of cars: Do not ride in a driver's blind spot. Ride where they can see you. Making eye contact with a driver is an effective way to ensure your safety.
Make yourself seen: Maximize your visibility by wearing bright or reflective apparel designed specifically for bikers. Don t move into traffic lanes without looking first to see if it is safe.
Defuse Road Rage: Minimize the risk of conflict by following the rules of the road and riding safely and courteously. No running red lights or stop signs.
Wear identification: Bob Mionske recommends that cyclists wear identification, such as a Road ID bracelet. Road ID products are simple, affordable laser-engraved identifications that can provide life-saving information to first responders.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly: wear a helmet. Always.
Be aware of cyclists: The most common reason for accidents is drivers simply not noticing bike riders. On all non-freeway routes, expect to see and share the road with bikers and pedestrians. Use your turn signals to help cyclists know your intent.
Share the road: Bicycles are "vehicles" too, and are entitled to use all roadways except for freeways. State laws differ, but most vehicle codes mandate that you pass cyclist with room to spare (3 feet) and only when it is safe.
Pass with care: One of the most common accidents involve a car overtaking a bike and turning in front of them. Err on the side of caution, slow down and let a cyclist through an intersection before you make your turn.
About Road ID
Road ID was born in the fall of 1999, when Edward Wimmer was training for a marathon and had a close encounter with a motorist. His father, Co-Founder Mike Wimmer, has voiced concern regarding the fact that he did not carry ID during training. The near miss was the catalyst for the creation of wearable ID gear for outdoor enthusiasts. Road ID now offers a variety of models including the Wrist ID Sport, the Wrist ID Elite, the Wrist ID Slim, the Ankle ID, the Shoe ID, the Fixx ID (necklace) and is a staple for professional and amateur athletes alike. For more information about Road ID, visit: www.RoadID.com
Information on traffic fatalities is available from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), NVS-424, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. NCSA can be contacted at 800-934-8517 or via the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. General information on highway traffic safety can be accessed by Internet users at www.nhtsa.gov/NCSA. To report a safety-related problem or to inquire about motor vehicle safety information, contact the Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.