Virginia Bicycle Accidents – How Safe Are You?

Bicycling is an activity enjoyed by many people –whether the intent of the ride is for exercise or simply to get outdoors. Bicycle helmets, lights, reflective clothing and other riding gear help keep cyclists safe on the road, but sadly bicycle accidents still happen on a regular basis. In 2010, 621 people were injured in Virginia bicycle accidents, requiring a Virginia personal injury lawyer. That number doesn’t even include the amount of cyclists who were killed.

The Unfortunate Facts About Virginia Bicycle Crashes

The Virginia Highway Safety Office compiles traffic accident data on a yearly basis. Not long ago, it released the 2010 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report, which contained the following startling information about bicycle collisions:

  • 12 bicycle riders were killed, which accounted for 1.6 percent of traffic deaths
  • Men were involved in more bicycle accidents than women
  • Cyclists ages 21 to 25 years old, were injured in more crashes than the other age groups
  • In 16.67 percent of reported bicycle accidents, the driver’s failure to yield was cited as a factor in the crash
  • Alcohol was only a known factor in 2.8 percent of bicycle accidents
  • Over three-quarters of the bicycle accidents in 2010 occurred at daylight
  • In the majority of the cycling accidents, the vehicle was going straight

Bicycle Safety Tips

While some bicycle accidents are unavoidable by cyclists, there are safety precautions that can be taken to reduce injuries and prevent death. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) states that cyclists must keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. In addition, cyclists are not allowed to wear earphones in both ears when riding.  VDOT also states that the following equipment is needed:

  • A white headlamp is required when riding between sunset and sunrise that can be seen from at least 500 feet away.
  • A red reflector must be used on the rear of the bicycle that is visible at least 600 feet from behind.
  • If you’re traveling on a road with a posted speed limit of 35 MPH or higher, you need a red taillight that can be seen from at least 500 feet away.
  • When riding on highways, the bicycle must be equipped with brakes that will “skid the wheels on dry, level, clean pavement.”

You can learn more by visiting VDOT’s Bicycling and Walking in Virginia page.

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