Philly Bicyclists Face Major Safety Risks
July 20, 2018
We have previously written about bicycle safety for Philadelphia residents in the past, as well as focusing on what the city does – and does not do – to improve biker, pedestrian, and driver safety. After a fatal accident involving a Caviar delivery bike courier this past May on Spring Garden street, it is important to take a look at how the city could do a better job at protecting bicyclists – particularly since numerous residents commute to work via bicycles – and what role we can all play to better keep one another safe.
According to a recent report, Philly is one of the most dangerous cities for cyclists in the country. A 2016 Census Bureau survey estimated that between 2% and 3% of city residents commute to work by bike, but the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) reports that they account for as many as half of the city’s total traffic-related fatalities. Many of these fatalities (and non-fatal injuries) are completely preventable. They can be prevented through better and more effective bicycle safety programs and increased driver accountability.
Philly Cyclists: what are the Dangers?
The more often someone bikes to work, for recreational purposes or any other reason, the more street-based dangers he or she faces. Some of the most common hazards for Philly bicyclists are:
- Unmarked and/or unpainted bicycle protection lanes;
- Unused but maintained trolley tracks;
- Distracted drivers, drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and drowsy drivers;
- Distracted pedestrians, and:
- Bike lanes without physical barriers
One of the biggest problems with bike lanes – even when they are marked – is that they usually lack physical boundaries installed to protect the cyclist from collisions with motor vehicles, trucks, and buses. There are approximately 22 miles of bike lanes throughout Philadelphia – if not more — but fewer than 3 of them have physical boundaries installed. Mayor Kenney implemented a plan to install more protective bike lanes by 2022 but in the meantime, bicyclists need to stay vigilant.
How Drivers and Pedestrians can Help
Everyone needs to remember that we all play a role in keeping one another safe, especially when it comes to cyclists, motorcyclists, and motor vehicle drivers. Making the decision to drink, do drugs, drive while drowsy or while distracted are all choices that can have fatal and lifelong consequences – not just for the driver of a vehicle, but for the person he or she injures or kills due to negligence.
What can Bicyclists do?
Observing traffic laws, always wearing a helmet and making sure to perform routine bike maintenance are just a few ways that cyclists can increase their chances of staying safe on local roadways. Some other general bicycle tips from the NHTSA include:
- Yield to traffic when it is appropriate;
- Always look before making a turn, and use hand signals to indicate your path of travel;
- Keep an eye out for parked cars or people exiting their vehicle;
- Stay with the flow of traffic (do not ride against traffic or in the opposite direction on a one-way street);
- Ride on the right side of the road, and:
- Try to avoid making erratic or unpredictable movements, like a sudden stop or turn
To read more of the NHTSA’s safety tips for adult and child cyclists alike, please visit: https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/bike/kidsandbikesafetyweb/index.htm.
Some of the most common injuries from bicycle-related accidents and collisions include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, musculoskeletal trauma, paralysis, nerve damage, and head and neck injuries. If you sustained injuries because of an accident that occurred while you were biking, a representative at our firm may be able to help.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Injured Bicyclists
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, please contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.