A Worcester Academy graduate and Boston University student was killed in a Massachusetts bicycle accident law week. According to police, the young adult was riding his bicycle when he was hit by a tractor-trailer turning the corner.
This is just one of the many tragic bicycle accidents that have taken the lives of cyclists in Massachusetts and around the country. A report released this week by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that bicycle accidents are becoming more and more common. Bike accident fatalities increased by 8.7 percent between 2010 and 2011 alone.
According to Jonathan Adkins, the deputy executive direct of the Governors Highway Safety Association, there is little surprise, but some disappointment in those numbers. “Our culture is beginning to move away from driving and toward healthier and greener modes of transportations. We need to be able to accommodate all these forms of transportation safely.”
Unfortunately, even in communities where bicycling-as-transportation has become the norm, drivers still haven’t grasped the concept. They don’t think to look twice around a corner before turning or check over their shoulder before merging into a right-hand lane or opening a door. In many cases, they simply refuse to give bicyclists the right-of-way. Making the problem worse is the number of people who choose to text while driving or even check their emails.
More can be done to make our roads safe for all forms of transportation and more must be done in 2013. We can only hope that next year’s bicycle fatality statistics mimic the overall traffic fatality rate, which, in 2011, was the lowest ever recorded.
Source: The Washington Post, “Bicycle, large truck deaths rose sharply last year even as total traffic fatalities dropped,” Associated Press, Dec. 10, 2012