Bicycle Accidents Are on the Rise in Texas

Bicycle Accidents Are on the Rise in Texas

Posted on | Categories: Personal Injury
Bicycle accident claims

Last year, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) issued a report that called attention to a disturbing trend: Fatal bicycle accidents have been on a steady rise in our country since 2011. According to the GHSA, the number of bicyclists killed in crashes hit 818 in 2015, marking a 12.2 percent increase from the year before – the highest total since 1995 and the largest single-year spike in nearly two decades.

More recently, in May 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that, in 2016, 840 bicyclists died in crashes on U.S. roads. It marked only a 1.3 percent increase from the year before. However, the total was a shocking 26 percent higher than the all-time low of 621 bicyclist fatalities in 2010 – the year before the current uptick began.

Here, in Texas, the safety of bicyclists has long been a concern. As The Houston Chronicle reported in July, a recent study actually ranked Houston as one of the country’s most dangerous cities for bicyclists. Unfortunately, our state statistics have mirrored the national trend.

Texas Bicyclist Deaths Have Risen by 24.5 Percent Since 2010

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), bicycle accidents caused 43 deaths in 2010. Every year since then, the total number of bicyclist fatalities exceeds the preceding year’s total, reaching 66 deaths in 2016. The number actually dipped to 57 deaths in 2017. Still, that fatality count marked a 24.5 percent increase since 2010 – virtually identical to the 26 percent national increase over that same time period.

The number of serious injury crashes and total number of bike accidents in Texas has steadily increased as well in recent years. In 2017, bicyclists were involved in 329 suspected serious injury crashes, marking a 3.6 percent rise from the previous year and a 13.4 percent increase since 2010. The total number of bike crashes hit 2,687 in 2017 – a 2.3 percent increase from the prior year and a roughly 25 percent spike since 2010.

How Can We Make Biking Safer in Texas?

Several factors contribute to this upward trend in fatal, serious injury, and total bicycle crashes in Texas. As the GHSA notes, a major factor is exposure. Simply put, more people bike today for recreational purposes as well as for commuting to work and school. Bike share programs in major cities such as the BCycle program in Houston have also put more cyclists on the roads.

Of course, the roads themselves are a factor as well. Although some strides have been made, cities in Texas and throughout the country still lack bike-friendly infrastructure such as dedicated bike paths or bike lanes. The design of many roads increases the risk of a collision between a bike and a vehicle.

At The Sloan Firm, we believe it is vital to focus on raising drivers’ awareness about how to safely share the road with bicyclists. As we have seen over the years, a high number of bike-car crashes occur because car drivers fail to pay attention to bicyclists or to respect their right to share the road. For instance, car drivers often fail to:

  • Leave at least three feet of space when they pass a bicyclist
  • Look for bicyclists before they open their car doors
  • Check their mirrors for bicyclist (or pedestrians) before they turn, change lanes or pull out of parking spots
  • Yield to bicyclists at intersections.

Our East Texas Bicycle Accident Lawyers Can Help You

If a negligent driver recently injured you while you rode your bike or caused the loss of your loved one in a bicycle accident in East Texas or in Houston, you should take immediate steps to protect your legal rights, including the right to recover full and fair compensation. Contact The Sloan Firm today through our offices in Longview, Houston, and Santa Fe. We will provide a free consultation and always focus on what matters most to you.