New Jersey may get a bad rap on some issues. But it appears that at least on divorce and bicycle accident related fatalities, we can take a bow. For all the fuss about Jersey Shore, our fine state has the lowest divorce rate in the nation. Now we see that bicycle deaths are super low at less than 2 per million population per year. In fact, in 2011, the last year that national statistics are available, New Jersey experienced only 17 such deaths.
U.S. Department of Transportation statistics show that on average more than 800 bicyclists die and 70,000 are injured in motor vehicle-related crashes. The good news is that the trend is down with only 618 deaths and 52,000 injuries in 2010. There does not seem to be good data regarding how many of these accidents involve a motor vehicle.
More than one-third of all bicycle fatalities involve riders 5 to 20 years old, and 41 percent of nonfatal injuries occur to children under the age of 15.
According to NJ.com
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign notes… characteristics of dangerous roads for bicyclists. Known as arterial roads, they typically have two or more travel lanes in each direction, travel speeds of at least 40 mph, and little to no bicycle or pedestrian infrastructure such as bike lanes or crosswalks.
The analysis calls attention to the design of roads throughout the state that put bicyclists in harm’s way. In December 2009, the state Department of Transportation passed a Complete Streets policy that requires new or rehabilitated roads to be built for all users, including walkers, cyclists, transit riders and drivers.
Additionally, the department has launched a new complete streets website and conducted twelve workshops for municipal, county and agency leaders on this road design. To date, more than 40 municipalities, including Hoboken, Jersey City and West Windsor, and three counties, including Mercer, have adopted policies.
“Since the middle of the last decade, people have been driving less and traveling by foot, bike, or transit more,” said Janna Chernetz, Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s New Jersey advocate. “Road design must keep up with these trends and better accommodate all users of the road.”
Why are deaths and injuries trending down. No one seems to truly know. However we do know that thousands of miles of bike paths and bike lanes have been added to the nation’s roads and highways. Today it is very unlikely that young riders will be out without a helmet. But high on the list has to be the continuing effort by civic minded organizations and agencies who provide education and promotion of bicycle safety.
The trend could continue down, but only if we keep doing the things that seem to be working. It is common in many places to see a surge in interest after a death or major injury in the community. The barn door being locked after the horse gets loose. While it sure makes it easier to get the ball rolling in such circumstances, it is obviously not born out of wisdom. The time to act is now, before the next child is harmed.
The massive potential side benefit of continuing to see the bicycle/auto accidents decline will be a greater willingness on the part of moms to let their kids have the freedom that they probably had as kids to ride to school or more than a few blocks to a friends house. The potential advantages include:
- Kids who are more at home with adventure
- Fewer overweight or obese kids
- A new outlet for kids other than video games and TV
- Fewer car trips to take Jr. to school or lessons or baseball practice
- Creating in children a lifelong appreciation for cycling
- More families on bikes as a pastime
- Fitness through cycling as a family passion
Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveal that most bicycle deaths occur between June through September, and between the hours of 6-9 p.m.
- The risk of sustaining an injury in non-daylight conditions is four times greater than during daytime.
- Nearly half of bicycle-motor vehicle crashes occurred at night or during low-light conditions when motorists had trouble seeing cyclists.
If you or one of your family members is involved in a bicycle accident that results in injuries or worse, you may find it to be very advantageous to discuss your case with a New Jersey Bicycle Accident Attorney prior to having any conversation with any insurance company employee, especially a claims agent. Their job will be to reduce or eliminate any payment by their employer.
Call now to speak with Eric Aretsky. There is no charge or obligation to speak with him about your case. 201-580-3411