Pittsburgh’s 11th annual BikeFest 2015 – touted as a celebration of “all-things-bicycling” in the ‘Burgh – is slated to begin Aug. 21, and the personal injury lawyers at Pribanic & Pribanic want to remind bike enthusiasts and motorists alike to exercise caution on the road.
Statistics indicate there has been an increase in bicycle fatalities and injuries both nationally and right here in the Keystone State. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association’s Spotlight on Bicylce Safety, the number of bicyclist deaths jumped about 16 percent between 2010 and 2012 while the number of motor vehicle fatalities rose just 1 percent during that same two-year period.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association report also indicated that bicycle fatalities is largely an urban problem, where about 69 percent of all cyclist deaths happen. That’s a 19 percent jump since 1975, and an increase researchers attribute to the popularity of commuting to work via bike.
Injuries and fatalities stemming from bicycle accidents has also increased in Pennsylvania over the last decade.
According to 2010 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics, there were 13 bicycle crash fatalities, and 1,310 injuries in 2006. In 2010, 21 bicycle fatalities were reported, along with another 1,474 injuries.
Just this month alone there have been at least two tragic bicycle crashes in the Pittsburgh region.
Police said a cyclist suffered “significant injuries” after being struck by a vehicle Aug. 6 at Jordan Street and state Route 51 in South View. He was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment of unknown injuries.
On Aug. 6, a teenager riding a bicycle in East Liberty when he was stuck by a vehicle, which allegedly then fled the scene. The 16-year-old was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment of injuries suffered during the hit-and run crash, which occurred at the intersection of North Highland Avenue and East Liberty Boulevard.
Here are five tips to keep safe during Pittsburgh’s BikeFest 2015:
- Cyclists should wear appropriate bicycle helmets each and every time they ride for their best shot at preventing a significant head injury during a crash.
- Cyclists (as well as other motorists) should be aware that bicyclists are considered vehicle operators and are required to observe the same rules as others on the road. Yes, cyclists must obey traffic signs and signals, as well as lane markings, and they must travel in the same direction as traffic.
- State law dictates drivers must give cyclists a 4-foot clearance. Be especially watchful for cyclists when making turns, either left or right. Drivers, remember that while Pennsylvania can’t force you to be courteous to cyclists you may encounter on the road, it can force you to give them a safety buffer.
- This might seem like common sense, but sometimes, common sense is anything but common: Cyclists should ensure they are visible to others sharing the road. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association recommends that bicyclists wear fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn, and dusk. At night, it is recommended that cyclists use a front light, as well as a reflective or rear-flashing light, too.
- If you are a bicyclist injured in a crash, be sure to collect as much information as you can, take as many pictures of the scene as you can, and be sure to call an experienced Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer to help determine if you have a personal injury claim. An attorney who understands personal injury litigation will be able to advise you on what steps to take to ensure that you are complying with insurance and other deadlines without compromising your potential legal claim.
Call the Pittsburgh personal injury attorneys at Pribanic & Pribanic today to schedule a free consultation.