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What do the latest U.S. bicycle accident statistics tell us?

The latest bicycle accident statistics in the United States indicate that the roads in Illinois and elsewhere around the country present real and serious danger to every bicyclist who braves them. In fact, it seems that bicyclists' deaths are on the rise.

According to the most recent statistics released by the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) last year -- which pertain to the year 2015 -- we are currently experiencing the highest frequency of bicyclist deaths since 1995.

A closer look at the risks of riding a bicycle

In 2015, 818 bicyclists died in crashes. This figure represented a 12.2 percent increase from the previous year. Although the figure matched death numbers reported in 1995, it was still not as high as 1975, when 1,003 bicyclists died in accidents.

As for injuries, 45,000 bicyclists were injured, representing a 10 percent decline from the 50,000 who were injured in 2014 and the 52,000 who were injured in 2010.

Here are some other important statistics:

  • Among the bicyclists who died, 37 were 14 or under, representing 7 percent of the total killed.
  • The average age of bicyclists who died was 45 in 2015. In 2002, it was 36.
  • Eighty-seven percent of the bicyclists who died were male, as were 83 percent of those injured while riding.
  • Seventy percent of fatal bicycle crashes happened within urban areas.
  • Sixty-one percent of fatal crashes did not happen in intersections.
  • Three percent of fatal crashes happened inside bicycle lanes.
  • Half of the bicycle fatalities happened while the sun was out.
  • Bicyclist fatalities accounted for approximately 2.3 percent of traffic deaths in 2015.
  • Twenty-seven percent of bicyclists who died in crashes in 2015 had alcohol in their systems.
  • Thirty-seven percent of fatal bike crashes included either a driver or bicyclist who was drinking before the crash.

Inspiration to stay safe while riding a bike

The above statistics can help bicyclists measure the risks involved with riding their bikes on roadways throughout the nation. However, they won't prevent a crash. The fact is, there's no way to eliminate the risks faced by bicyclists, as fatal or injurious collisions are always possible.

In the event that a bicyclist gets hurt or killed due to no fault of his or her own, the cyclists -- and/or their surviving family members -- may want to learn about Illinois state personal injury or wrongful death law to see how it applies to their situations. An attorney can advise you concerning your legal options.

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