Early Analysis Shows Bicycle Accident Fatality Rate Increased During COVID-19
While the COVID-19 Pandemic is not over and it may be a little longer before 2020 bicycle accidents and injuries data are fully analyzed, we have enough information now to know that more bicyclists were killed in accidents in the early part of the pandemic as a percentage of total traffic accidents. Everyone remembers the almost empty streets that marked the stay-at-home orders in the early days of the pandemic. With so few cars on the road during those months, it makes sense that car accidents dropped dramatically. The rate of bicycle accidents and corresponding injuries, on the other hand, increased during the pandemic shutdowns. As we begin to analyze the numbers, the picture becomes clearer.
Pandemic Bicycle Accident Statistics
The early data for 2020 bicycle accident statistics is in and the numbers were not good for bicyclists. Organizations such as Outside Magazine reviewed all cyclist deaths during 2020 and shared their findings in January, 2021:
- Approximately 675 cyclists were killed in accidents in 2020; which was a decrease over the 846 bicycle fatalities in 2019. However, with overall traffic accidents dropping by 41 percent in 2020, the death rate increased.
- 1 percent of fatal accidents involved male cyclists.
- 3 percent of drivers who crashed into and killed a cyclist fled the scene.
- Cyclist deaths were recorded in 47 out of 50 states. Louisiana had the highest number of cyclist deaths per million residents at 7.3 fatalities per one million residents.
- Cyclists died in bicycle vs. vehicle crashes on rural roads at almost the same rate as on urban roads. About 1/3 of fatal bicycle accidents happened in each of these two types of areas.
For context, it is important to understand that the number of bicycle accidents has been increasing for the last decade (37 percent). There is a good chance that without the pandemic shutdowns, overall bicycle injuries and fatalities would have been much higher in 2020.
Why did the bicycle accident fatality rate increase during the pandemic?
There are several possible reasons that the bicycle accident fatality rate increase during the pandemic.
- There were simply a lot more bicyclists on the road. With gyms and other indoor workout options closed down because of the pandemic, thousands of people turned to cycling as a way to stay active.
- While traffic decreased dramatically during the early shutdowns, studies have found that speeding increased. Speeding is a major factor in deadly collisions.
- Drinking and driving may have increased during the pandemic as people looked for coping mechanisms. According to the NHTSA, fatal crashes involving alcohol increased by 9 percent in 2020.
- There are more large trucks and SUVs on the road and there is a higher chance of death when a bicycle accident involves an SUV, pickup truck, or semi-truck.
Bicycle accidents involving a car
If you have been injured in an accident with a car while cycling, it is vital to report the accident to the police, file a police report immediately and to seek prompt medical treatment. Document and preserve the evidence from the scene of the accident if you are able and keep receipts and transcripts from all resulting medical care. You should also notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible but do not speak to the at-fault insurance agency or accept a settlement without first speaking with a bike accident attorney.
If you have lost a loved one or been injured through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring, tireless and experienced wrongful death attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!