Preventing Summer Bicycle Accidents in West Virginia

Jul 2014

Preventing bicycle accidents is essential to saving the life of bike riders. Unfortunately, many accidents are caused by the negligence of drivers. The League of American Bicyclists recently published a comprehensive report identifying some of the top causes of collisions that result in bicyclist deaths.

Bike riders and drivers need to know the accident risks so they can take steps to avoid injury or fatalities. If an accident occurs, a personal injury lawyer should be consulted by victims or family members for assistance in pursuing a damage claim.

Top Bicycle Collision Causes

The League of American Bicyclists collected information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on fatal bicycle accidents from February of 2011 through February of 2013. There were a total of 628 accidents identified. Researchers then reviewed newspaper accounts of the collisions and other accident reports to identify the cause of the bicyclist’s death. In a total of 33 collisions, the researchers were unable to determine the cause of death and in 146 of the collisions the researchers could not determine how the accident had happened.

For the remainder of the collisions, researchers identified the circumstances of the crash. Unfortunately, the data showed that it was often the actions of a driver that led to the bicyclist’s death. The bicycle rider was responsible for causing the accident in just 94 of the fatal collisions. Many of the accidents were hit-and-runs where the driver fled the scene, or involved careless driving or distracted driving.

The accidents were divided into different types including:

  • Accidents where the biker was hit from behind. Although these types of collisions are relatively rare, they accounted for about 40 percent of bicycle rider deaths.
  • Side impact collisions or T-bone crashes. A T-bone collision occurs when a vehicle or bike is going straight and is hit from the side. A total of 10 percent of bike riders were killed in T-bone crashes.
  • Head-on accidents. Eight percent of the bicycle riders who lost their lives were killed when a car hit their bike head-on.
  • Right-hook collisions. Around six percent of bicycle rider fatalities were caused in this type of crash.
  • Failure-to-yield collisions. Six percent of bicyclists died because drivers did not yield the right-of-way. In another two percent of deaths, the bicyclist was the one who failed to yield to a car when it was the car’s turn to drive.
  • Sideswipe collisions. These types of accidents caused around four percent of bicycle-rider fatalities.

Drivers need to be aware of the circumstances under which bike accidents are most likely to occur and should do everything they can to try to reduce the risk. Drivers need to obey the speed limit, watch out for bikes, avoid distracted or drunk driving and respect bicyclists on the road. This means not trying to pass unless it is safe to do so and leaving at least four feet in between the car and the bicycle.

Riders also play a part in stopping traffic deaths. Bicyclists should stay in bike lanes whenever possible and should obey the rules of the road including all traffic signals and stop signs.

Contact a West Virginia accident attorney at the Recht Law Offices.  Call 1-800-487-8546 today for a free consultation or visit

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