2023 is Philly’s Deadliest Year So Far for Bicyclists
December 14, 2023
Just last month, a teacher was the tenth cyclist to tragically lose his life after he was struck and killed by a motor vehicle while biking in Philadelphia. This most recent loss makes 2023 the deadliest year on record for bicyclists in the city so far. According to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, or the BCGP, the influx in vehicular crashes that include bicyclists is a major public safety concern that city representatives and residents should strive to address.
There is no shortage of benefits when it comes to bicycling, like your health and the environment, but there are also risks that people need to be aware of – especially in cities like Philadelphia where there are more people, cars, buses and trucks on the road. Here are some key bicycle-related tips, risks, and statistics to familiarize yourself with:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bicycling leads to the highest number of sporting and recreation-related emergency-department visits for traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, each year
- In Philadelphia, more than 17,000 commuters bike to work at least three days per week. The BCGP recorded this number last year and it is the highest recorded number of commuting bicyclists in the city to date
- Last year, 133 Philadelphians died in vehicular crashes, including eight bicyclists. That number was the highest in the previous 24 years, before this year’s numbers, which are the highest on record so far
- In addition to the 10 cyclists who died in the city this year so far, 11 motorcyclists, 54 pedestrians and 2 e-scooter users were killed in preventable traffic accidents that involved motor vehicles
- Historically, bike accidents, injuries and deaths increase during the warmer months. Numbers are typically higher from May to October
- Bicycles and bike accessories can pose hazards on their own: for example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), receives hundreds of thousands of reports from consumers who sustain bike or bike accessory-related injuries every year
- A meta-analysis found that wearing a helmet reduces the chances of sustaining a head injury by 60% and the chances of sustaining a brain injury by 58%
The good news is, there are plenty of precautions that cyclists – and drivers – can take to safeguard each other from getting into an avoidable accident that results in serious injury or something worse. Thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), here is a list of some of the protective measures we can all take:
- Make sure you are riding the right-sized bicycle for your height. Riding a bike that is too small or too large poses a serious safety hazard and affects a cyclist’s stability
- Just like always wearing a seat belt in a car, make sure to wear a helmet every time you ride your bike. Ensure that your helmet is not damaged or cracked and that it fits your head properly. If your helmet is involved in a crash and sustains any impact or comes into contact with the ground, replace it. Even if you are not involved in a crash, safety experts recommend getting a new helmet every five years
- Cyclists should wear protective equipment that boosts their visibility to other cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and drivers on the road. Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective gear at dusk and nighttime. Cyclists should also install white front lights, red rear lights and reflectors
- Ride with one person per seat and with both hands on the handlebars, unless you are signaling to others that you are about to make a turn
- Speaking of signaling, be sure to use and/or obey all signals that you encounter on the road, whether they are posted speed limits or a cyclist signaling a turn
- Drivers should NEVER tailgate cyclists. Always wait until it is safe to pass a cyclist on the road
- Plan your route before you hit the road. If possible, choose a route with less traffic and slower speed limits
- Tuck and tie your shoelaces as well as your pants legs so nothing gets caught in your bicycle chain while you are riding
- When the situation is appropriate, drivers should give cyclists the right of way
- Always be sure to give cyclists extra time to cross an intersection
- When backing up in your car, pay special attention to bicyclists that may come into your path. Children on bicycles can be especially difficult to see, so be vigilant, take your time and exert caution
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has been working towards implementing its Vision Zero strategy (a strategy that contains policies aimed at making all road users feel safe and comfortable) for the past few years now. The Vision Zero Alliance promotes strategies that target impaired and aggressive driving – as well as speeding – through smart street design and widespread educational campaigns. The Alliance says it could always use more community engagement, data and funding to continue working to reduce accidents and keep Philadelphians safe, so if you would like to learn how to get involved visit: https://bicyclecoalition.org/get-involved/.
Were You Injured in a Bike Accident?
Bike accidents can result in a variety of major and traumatic injuries. In some cases, bike accident victims incur expensive medical bills and/or significant time away from work while they are recovering. Some injuries that bicyclists sustain include lacerations, abrasions, contusions, fractures, strains, sprains, dislocations, internal injuries, back and spinal injuries, road rash, neck injuries, and brain and head injuries. If you were involved in a bike accident and have questions about filing a legal claim, someone at our firm can assist you. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If you have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.