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.
Reduce Bicycle Accidents: New WA State Bike Rules Require Motor Vehicles to Give Cyclists 3 Feet of Space When Passing
As reported by komonews.com, new rules for bicycle safety went into effect in Washington State on January 1, 2020. The new rules were approved by Washington State lawmakers in May, 2019.
New WA State bike rules go into effect to reduce bicycle accidents
There are three components to the rule change:
- Drivers now have to give bicycle riders at least three feet of space when passing. The old rule asked drivers to pass cyclists at a “safe distance” but did not specify the distance.
- Drivers must move to the left lane (if there are two or more lanes of traffic) or into the opposing lane (if there is a single lane of traffic) to pass bicyclists on the road.
- If there is only one lane of traffic in each direction, drivers must slow down and allow at least three feet of space between their vehicle and the bicycle.
Washington Fatal Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents Doubled Between 2013-2017
May is bike month which means people are encouraged to get out there and ride their bikes. With the weather warming up in the Pacific Northwest, there are more cyclists on the road. Drivers and cyclists both need to do their parts to reduce bicycle accidents, which often involve a crash between a motor vehicle and a bicycle.
Washington fatal pedestrian and bicycle accidents doubled between 2013-2017
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Active Transportation Annual Safety Report was released in March 2018. It showed that Washington pedestrian and bicycle deaths doubled over four years between 2013 and 2017 with 60 deaths in 2013 and 122 in 2017 (pedestrians shouldered most of the increase in fatalities). Pedestrian and bicycle accident injuries went up 31 percent during these years, from 351 in 2013 to 461 in 2017.
How to Prevent Spring Car Accidents & Pedestrian Accidents
For those of us in the Pacific Northwest, the season turning to spring brings a sigh of relief that we won’t have to deal with winter driving conditions again for several months. What many may not realize is that spring brings its own car accident and pedestrian accident risk factors. Being aware of the dangers that spring brings to the roads can reduce your chances of being injured in an accident.