Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

516162-300x296The Valley of the Sun is known around the country for its beautiful landscape. The mountain backdrop, thirty miles of paved bike paths, and hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails make the Phoenix area one of the country’s prime destinations for bicyclists.

In fact, Arizona State University, located in Tempe, is ranked as one of the country’s top twenty bicycle friendly universities. ASU reports that 15,000 students use bicycles as transportation to and from campus everyday. The University is also home to one of the largest cycling clubs that provides a forum for all types bicycle riders and hosts various cycling races for students. The club participates in cycling competitions around the nation.

Tempe itself is known as one of the most bike friendly cities in America, receiving a Gold-Level Bicycle-Friendly Community award in 2015. Tempe is home to 175 miles of bikeways and has worked hard over recent years to provide safe bike lanes throughout urban areas to promote bicycling as a form of transportation in the city.

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51616(2)Turning on the morning news in Phoenix continues to bring increased awareness of the safety risks faced by bicyclists in our community every day. Not long goes by without a report of an accident or a fatality between a biker and a motor vehicle, many of which were caused by mistakes that could have been avoided.

If we could understand the reasons behind these collisions, more and more of them would be prevented and the associated loss of life would be curtailed. So with that in mind, exactly why do so many cyclists keep losing their lives in the Valley?

Like the majority of traffic accidents that happen here in Arizona, there is no one easy answer. Accidents happen for countless reasons but the biggest thing they have in common is that one or more individuals involved made a mistake. In fact, if all motorists and cyclists drove and rode according to the rules of the road and with safety as their primary concern, almost no collisions would happen. Instead, though, it is the errors of our citizens that are causing damage and leading to incidents that cannot be undone.

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91616Arizona is a fantastic place to ride a bicycle. Whether you are into road racing, mountain biking, or something in between, the diverse landscape of our state can provide you with the trails you want to ride. As a result, thousands flock to Arizona to take advantage of our roadways, trails, paths, and other bike friendly areas regardless of the time of the year.

There are many reasons that Tempe is home to a large number of cyclists and riders. Among them, the presence of Arizona State University, the overall young age of an average resident, and the prime street biking and bike lanes are prominent benefits cited by local officials. A number of these riders are now anticipating Tour de Fat arriving in their town, a traveling festival dedicated to bicycling and all that goes with the lifestyle. With an eye towards promoting the benefits of cycling, Tour de Fat makes an appearance in multiple cities annually and will be arriving in Tempe over the first weekend in October.

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72016Bicycle lanes are somewhat hit-or-miss in Maricopa County. In some areas, these lanes are heavy and can be found on nearly all major routes of travel. In other locations, bicycle lanes are sparse or absent and can make riding more challenging for cyclists. However, it is clear that these lanes are growing in number and that their popularity is increasing as greater numbers of Arizona residents choose to travel by bike every year.

With the increased presence and use of bicycle lanes should come a greater understanding of their purpose and effect among motorists. Unfortunately, that has not been the case to date with many drivers woefully ignorant as to the laws that govern these lanes. As a result, countless drivers are engaging in behavior that is threatening to their own safety and to the safety of those riding bicycles near them – often without realizing their mistakes.

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51616(2)Bicycling is becoming increasingly popular in Tempe and all across the Valley of the Sun. If you ride in the area, are thinking about riding, or have kids who may ride on occasion, you may realize that there are a lot of benefits to hopping on a bicycle when you want to get somewhere. Bikes are cheap, efficient, and reliable means of transportation. Their maintenance costs are much lower than a typical passenger vehicle and you do not need a license to ride one. Traffic is less of a problem and parking is rarely challenging. In fact, thanks to the proliferation of bicycle racks in and around the city, cyclists can often park their bicycles closer to a building or establishment than even the best vehicular parking spot in the area.

But for all the positives, there continue to be some drawbacks to riding in Tempe. The biggest issue is that presented by bicycle collisions which typical involve a crash between a bicycle and a motorized vehicle like a car, truck, or bus. In some cases, these collisions are the fault of the cyclist but far too often, they are the result of an inattentive or unknowledgeable driver who ignores the cyclist’s rights.

If you are going to ride in Tempe or if someone you love will be using a bicycle, the best thing you can do is to familiarize yourself with the laws and your rights so that you can remain as safe as possible.

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22516When it comes to the concerns that permeate your daily life, it is normal to focus on those that could directly impact you while paying less attention to those you can avoid. Of course safety on a construction site is very important, but if you work in an office, you might not consider construction safety a top priority, for example. This line of thinking often bleeds over to the context of safety on the Phoenix roadways – drivers acknowledge that vehicular safety matters but give less thought to the safety of others, including bicyclists, because they do not ride.

It is a mistake to think that the threats to cyclists are unimportant or less important than the threats to others on the roads, even if you don’t ride, because the truth is that everyone is affected by the safety and riding of cyclists.

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11216Recently, a lot of attention has been focused on safety issues related to sports played by young children. Whether it is football, soccer, wrestling, basketball, or baseball, injuries can happen in almost any sporting event, leading many parents to worry about their children when playing these games and other parents to forego sports altogether. In fact, the number of participants in several youth sports has plummeted in recent years in what is believed to be a response to safety issues.

But the fact remains that children between the ages of five and 14 are more likely to be hurt in a bicycle accident than they are in a sports accident which means that parents who are concerned about safety should not overlook bicycling, especially if their kids ride in Phoenix.

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12115(2)Riding a bicycle in Maricopa County is a legal, efficient, and often fun means of transportation for riders of all ages. Yet despite the benefits of bicycling in the Phoenix area, many who drive cars or other vehicles continue to ignore the rights of cyclists, placing the safety of cyclists and even other motorists at risk by their actions.

It is the duty of every driver to act in a safe and reasonable manner while behind the wheel but on a daily basis, there are drivers on the roadways who do not look for bicycles or otherwise act in a threatening manner when a bicycle is nearby. This increases the odds that a bicycle collision will occur and with any crash comes the very real possibility that someone will suffer harm as a result.

In 2013, there were 1,679 bicyclists who were injured in traffic-related accidents in Arizona alone, a significant number that averages out to approximately 4.6 injuries every single day. Unfortunately, a large portion of those victims were in the greater Phoenix area at the time of their accident due to the Valley’s large population of riders, large number of motorists, and overall safety issues that permeate both types of transit. One type of collision that continues to rise in numbers is a bicycle dooring accident.

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102615%282%29.jpgIf you live in the Phoenix area but do not ride a bicycle, chances are that you do not pay a lot of attention to bicycle safety or the threat of bicycle accidents. But that could be a massive mistake as anyone can be involved in a bicycle crash – even those who do not ride. The fact remains that most of the collisions involving bikes in Arizona also involve a vehicle, whether it is a car, truck, or bus, so even those who utilize vehicular transit must be cognizant of bicycle-related safety concerns.

First, know that it is the right of cyclist to ride their bikes in the roadways around Phoenix. This means that drivers do not have the right to ignore cyclists or their bikes as they ride and that drivers must respect the right of cyclists to be present on the streets. If you drive, accept in your mind that cyclists will be present just as you accept that other vehicles will be on the roadway. Understanding their right to ride and accepting it can eliminate the frustration some motorists feel when they see bicycles in their path.
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101215%282%29.jpgSafety continues to improve across the country every year as technological advances ease the hazards previously posed to the public. One area where things keep getting better is in the transportation arena. When compared to data from 30-40 years ago, traffic accidents and traffic-related fatalities have declined substantially even as the overall population in the nation has increased significantly. There are complicated answers as to why this has happened but experts tend to agree that it is a combination of advanced safety features in cars, cars that are designed to protect passengers on impact instead of keeping their form, and educational campaigns related to safety issues.

But as traffic accidents continue to head in a positive direction, an area for continued concern remains the number of bicycle collisions that take place. Most of these, and the most concerning segment of these, involve an impact between a vehicle and a bicycle and take place on or near a public roadway.
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