May is National Bike Safety Month and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA have partnered to launch Roll Model: a campaign to prevent bicycle accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities. Of all traffic fatalities, two percent are bicyclists, 17 percent of whom are age 14 or younger.
The campaign asks parents and guardians to set a good example for their children by exhibiting safe behavior on the road. Bicycles cause more injuries to children than any product besides motor vehicles.
Bicycle Safety Tips
Child bicycle fatalities increase by 45 percent in the summer months, so now is an excellent time to brush up on bike safety with your children.
Cyclists of all ages should wear a helmet. Helmets are 85 percent effective in preventing serious head injury and brain injury in the event of a crash. Helmets that fit properly should sit in a level position on the head and should be tight enough to prevent any back-and-forth sliding.
Bicyclists are required to follow the same laws and rules of the road that apply to drivers of motor vehicles.
It’s important not to assume that you have the right of way as a bicyclist or pedestrian, even if you do. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has found that failure to yield by both bicyclists and motorists is the most common contributing factor in crashes.
Cyclist Casualties in Minnesota
According to AAA, an average of 140 bicyclists are killed in traffic crashes every day. This is a terrifying statistic for bicyclists. A recent string of Minneapolis fatal bike accidents has only strengthened this fear:
- On April 15, a hit-and-run driver jumped a curb and struck three pedestrians, killing Ben Van Handel, 23. The victims had been walking on the sidewalk near the University of Minnesota campus. The driver was arrested a week later.
- On April 20, Tonia Marie Sorensen, 38, was struck by a taxi while walking in Uptown and was taken to the hospital where she eventually died.
- On April 25, Kimberly Yeong Sil Hull, 25, was hit and killed by a semi truck while riding her bicycle through a crosswalk near the University of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported nine bicycle fatalities in the state last year. The average for the past six years has been eight bicyclist fatalities per year.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian or bike accident, seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.