During the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic on Boston-area roads decreased significantly. As things have opened back up, the number of motor vehicles on our streets and highways has shot back up to its pre-pandemic levels. This puts everyone on the road – including bicyclists and pedestrians – at higher risk of being hurt in an accident.
If you’re a bicyclist, there are steps that you can take to stay safe as you bike in and around Boston. While you cannot prevent every crash, taking some common-sense measures, like wearing the proper safety gear, can reduce the likelihood that a negligent driver will hit you. If you are hurt in a bike crash, you may be able to recover money for your injuries.
At Parker Scheer, we represent injury victims throughout the Boston metro area. Our law firm will fight for your right to receive maximum compensation. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
What Is the Risk of Getting in a Bike Accident?
In 2020, there were 1,100 motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts that involved bicycles. In the city of Boston alone, 45 bicyclists were in crashes with vehicles in 2020. That same year, 9 bicyclists across the state were killed in accidents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bicycle trips only account for 1% of all trips in the United States. However, bicyclists face a far higher chance of suffering a serious crash-related injury or death than occupants in motor vehicles. The reason why is simple: bikers have far less protection than occupants of cars, trucks and SUVs.
There are certain factors that increase the likelihood of being in a bike accident, including:
- Age: older adults (50 to 59) have the highest rate of bicycle accident death, while children (5 to 14) and adolescents (15 to 19) have the highest rates of non-fatal bike injuries;
- Gender: men are 6 times more likely to be fatally injured and 4 times more likely to be hurt on bicycles, compared to women;
- Location: most bicycle deaths happen in urban areas, and not in intersections;
- Time: most bicycle accidents occur between 6 and 9 p.m.; and
- Substance use: 37% of all fatal bike accidents involved alcohol use by the driver or the bicyclist.
While bicyclists cannot prevent all accidents, there are certain things that they can do to reduce the risk of being in a crash – or being seriously injured if a car strikes them.
Top Tips for Avoiding Bike Crashes in Boston
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that all bikers take action to decrease the chance of being hurt in an accident, whether in a fall or if struck by a car. If you’re riding in Boston – an urban area with a high number of vehicles on the road – these tips may help prevent serious injury or even death.
- Ride a bike that fits you and that is in good condition.
- Wear safety equipment, including a helmet, bright clothing, and reflective gear.
- Make sure that your bike has reflectors and lights in the front and rear.
- Carry items in a backpack, basket, or strapped to the back of the bike.
- Strap down loose pant legs and make sure that your shoelaces are tied tightly.
- Choose a safe route, minimizing time on roads with heavy traffic.
- Learn and follow all rules of the road.
- Obey street signs, signals, and road markings.
- Use hand signals.
- Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it.
- Never assume that drivers see you.
- Look ahead for hazards such as potholes.
- Avoid distractions like listening to music or using your phone.
- Cross the street at intersections only.
- Never ride if you have been drinking or using drugs.
- Use bike lanes or paths whenever possible.
- Be extra cautious in parking lots and when passing driveways, watching for cars that may be backing out.
- Ride one per seat.
- Keep both hands on your handlebars, unless signaling a turn.
- Keep your eyes on the road.
While these tips won’t prevent all crashes, they can help to minimize the likelihood that you will be hit by a car. Practicing safe biking habits and riding defensively are the best ways to avoid a fall or being hit by a motor vehicle.
Help for Bike Accident Victims
Far too often, bicyclists are struck by careless drivers and suffer serious injuries as a result. If you have been hurt in a bike accident, you may be able to recover financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Our law firm can help.
Parker Scheer represents individuals in Massachusetts who have been hurt in all types of accidents, from medical malpractice to dog bites to slip and falls to car accidents. We offer free consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Boston bicycle accident attorney, call us at 617-886-0500 or fill out our online contact form.
Eric J. Parker, the Managing Partner of Parker Scheer LLP, has over 30 years’ experience representing victims in complex personal injury cases. He is active in many legal associations and has won many awards for performance and principles. Eric believes in giving back to the community and supports young scholars and law students by acting as faculty and mentor to them.