Bronx Personal Injury & Real Estate Blog

Monday, September 26, 2016

Apparent U.S. Epidemic of Hit-and-Run Accidents with Bicyclists

Are there more hit-and-run accidents with cyclists or does it just seem that way?

Throughout the country, the number of bicyclists involved in hit-and-run accidents has been increasing at an alarming rate. Just during one week in mid-August the following occurred: a 54-year-old cyclist in Baltimore was killed by a truck driver who fled the scene, an 11-year-old boy was struck and seriously injured by a young man who left the child lying in the street, a Chicago man was killed as a result of being hit by a cargo van, and a woman in Minnesota was struck by a pick-up truck which took off after causing her to fly over its hood and land in the roadway. All of these crashes are presently under investigation, although in most the driver has been identified. As those of us in the New York area know, there are an increasing number of such horrific accidents here as well.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a hit-and-run accident in the Bronx, you should contact a talented personal injury attorney who will fight vigorously to get you the compensation you deserve for your medical costs, your lost wages, any resulting disability, and your pain and suffering.

Is there really an increase in fatal hit-and-run accidents in this country?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the total number of fatal hit-and-run accidents reported in the U.S. has risen nearly 14 percent since 2009. About 60 percent of all hit-and-run deaths involve pedestrians and cyclists as the victims. Six states – New York, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Texas, account for more than 50 percent of all cycling traffic fatalities.

Hit-and-Run Defined

A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver is involved in an accident with a pedestrian, another car, or a fixed object, and leaves the scene. Leaving the scene of the accident is a violation whether or not the accident was the fault of the fleeing driver.

Reasons Drivers Leave the Scene of an Accident

While it may seem incomprehensible that so many people are capable of leaving others injured, dead or dying on the roadway, we have to face the fact that it happens all too frequently. The primary reason is fear of the legal, emotional, and financial consequences of taking responsibility for the accident. In many instances, the motorist has heightened fear because he or she was driving while impaired, driving an uninsured vehicle, driving recklessly, or driving without a license.

Why is the rate of such accidents increasing?

Bicycling has become more and more popular in this country for a number of reasons: increasing awareness of the health benefits of exercise, traffic congestion that makes bicycle travel seem more convenient, and availability of shared bicycles in many cities and college towns.

Preventing Collisions

Obviously, when there is an accident involving a car and a bicycle, the cyclist, even when wearing a properly fitted helmet, is at a terrible disadvantage. It is, of course, important for the cyclist to be following the rules of the road, being fully alert (not wearing headphones, for example), and making both clothing and bicycle highly visible, especially at night.

Drivers should always be alert to bicycles, especially those ridden by children. Drivers shouldn't honk at bicycles because it can disorient cyclists and cause them to swerve or fall. Motorists should give bicyclists at least a three-foot clearance. Distracted driving is always a bad idea, but is even more dangerous when you are sharing the road with a cyclist.

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