According to a recent news article from KFGO, over the past two decades, researchers have discovered an increase in the total medical costs associated with treated personal injuries caused in bike crashes.
There is no question that a lot more people ride bicycles today than they did 20 years ago. For this reason, it would be all too easy to assume that there are more total medical costs because more people are riding bikes. This is however, only partially true. Study organizers have surmised that it goes beyond the number of riders, and likely has more to do with the age of riders.
Two decades ago there were fewer people riding bikes, but the clear majority of riders were young people. Today, we not only have more total riders, but we also see a much larger percentage of riders over the age of 45. We are also more bike crashes caused by bikers being hit by car then accidents where bike riders crash on a sidewalk or into a fixed object.One issues, as our Boston bicycle crash injury lawyers have seen, is that with all of the advocacy and campaigns to get more people on bikes as it can prevent traffic and help the environment, has worked with prospective riders, but the effort has not worked as well with transportation officials and the driving public.
There are a lot of things that must be done to make biking safer in Boston and surrounding areas like Cambridge, where biking is also very popular. For one, drivers need to be educated about safety driving with bikes on the road. When a bike rider is on the road, following all the rules of traffic, that rider has all the rights and many of the same responsibilities as a car driver does. One of the problems is that drivers assume a bike has to get out of their way since they are slower and if the bike is involved in a crash, it is the bike rider’s fault. This is not true in many situations, but it is a common misconception even help by some police officers who are trained to know better.
On the other hand, any bike riders think they can act like a pedestrian and still get the protections such as right of way. A bike rider cannot blow every red light, ride in the crosswalk, and then expect to be afforded all protection of motorists under the law. While this happens much less often than people might think, it is a problem that should not be occurring at all.
Researchers from Harvard university who commented on this study have said that along with an increase in the number of bicycle riders on the road, we also need to an increase in bike-friendly infrastructure. This can include dedicated bike lanes and bike turning lanes as well as more posted signs warning drivers to be careful. There is also a lot that can be done to make bike riders safer from being injured by trucks such as encouraging drivers to get side guards to bike riders from getting caught under the wheels of a truck.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Boston bicycle accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 617-777-7777.
Medical costs of bike crashes on the rise, June 9, 2017, By Madeline Kennedy, KFGO News
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