North Carolina Bicycle Accident Demonstrates Need for Safety Improvements
Personal injury lawyers in Wilmington, NC know that North Carolina has a Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation (DBPT), which is part of the state's Department of Transportation (DOT). The DBPT published a synthesis report in May 2011 outlining different steps that could be taken to improve bicycle safety in the state, including retrofitting existing roads to add bike lanes.
One of the steps outlined also described requiring more from all road users as an important policy objective for reducing bicycle wrecks. Efforts to get motorists to do more included setting tougher requirements for licensees; educating drivers on bicycle and pedestrian safety during drivers' education; including bike safety information on the state driver's licensing exam, and teaching about the dangers of distracted driving to pedestrian and bike riders.
Unfortunately, while the state is trying to make the roads safer for riders, not all drivers are doing their part. One tragic accident in late August, for example, can likely be attributed to the allegedly wrongful and dangerous actions of a 27-year-old driver. WWAY 3 News Chanel reports that the driver has been arrested for risky behavior that may have led to an early morning car crash, which injured a bicyclist.
Driver Allegedly Causes Bicycle Wreck in Wilmington, NC
According to WWAY 3 News Channel, the 27-year-old driver was driving a van at the time he reportedly struck the bicyclist. He was put into handcuffs at the accident scene by the police when law enforcement arrived at the crash site. The driver was subsequently charged with driving without a license and with running a red light.
The victim of the crash was a 36-year-old man who was riding his bicycle to work. His condition is not yet known but hopefully he will make a full recovery after the accident. Many bicycle riders in the state don't recover from crashes, and data from the NCDOT reveals that there were an average of .26 bicycle accident fatalities for every 100,000 state residents from the years 2000 to 2008.
Unfortunately, during this time period, crash data has shown a steady increase in bicycle crashes and in fatalities among bicycle riders. In 2000, for example, there were 11.2 bicycle crashes for every 100,000 residents. In 2007, there were 11.4, and in 2008 there were 11.3. The increase in bicycle-accident deaths happened at a time when there was a slight decline in pedestrian fatalities. The increase also resulted in many more young people dying -- data shows that 18 percent of all bicycle crashes from 2000 to 2008 involved bicyclists between the ages of 11 and 15.
It is the increase in bike accident deaths that has prompted, in part, the comprehensive report from the DBPT about how to reduce the risks. While safety steps such as educating the public and increasing the number of bike lanes may not stop every crash or prevent every motorist from carelessly running a red light and hitting a cyclist, the outreach efforts and bike-safety initiatives should hopefully have a positive impact and prevent more riders from being involved in injury accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike accident, personal injury lawyers in Wilmington, NC can help. Give us a call today at 1-800-FLEXNER for your free legal consultation.