People in Virginia and across the United States are increasingly leaving their cars at home and using alternative methods to get around. Bicycling is positive in many ways including helping people stay in shape, saving money on gas and benefiting the environment. However, that does not eliminate the risk. Even those who adhere to the rules of the road, wear protective equipment and make sure they are visible can be involved in a collision. Since bicyclists are so vulnerable, there is a high chance of serious injuries and fatalities. Given the long-term ramifications from a bicycle accident, it is imperative to know what to do in the aftermath.
Virginia DMV says fatal bicycle accidents are up significantly
Recently, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) released statistics showing a worrisome uptick in fatal bicycle accidents in the commonwealth. In 2021, the number of bicyclist deaths has risen by 75%. In 2020, there were eight bicyclist deaths. So far in 2021, there have been 14. Bicycling advocates report that people are so concerned about road safety that they are deciding against riding on the roads even though they would like to.
Ironically, there have been fewer overall bicycle crashes in 2021 when compared to 2020. There have been 454 such collisions this year and around 100 more in 2020. The severity is what is leading to people suffering worse injuries and death. Drivers are believed to be speeding with greater frequency and distracted driving is getting worse. In July, there were two new laws put into effect specifically designed to enhance bicyclist safety. In one, drivers must change lanes when passing a rider; in the other, bicyclists can stay next to other riders in one lane to improve visibility and give drivers an easier path to passing. Richmond is second in the total number of bicycle accidents at 34 with one rider fatality.
Bicyclists should be aware of the danger and know what to do after a crash
A person who decides to ride a bicycle is not expecting to be in an auto accident. Unfortunately, as these numbers show, these types of crashes with fatalities are on the rise. Even if a person survives the accident, their lives can be changed in a seemingly endless number of ways. Medical costs can be massive, they might need assistance to perform even the most basic tasks and working or contributing to a family will be limited. When there is a fatality, the challenges are far worse. The circumstances of the accident must be scrutinized to determine its cause and plan a strategy. Having experienced advice from the start is key.