The weather in our region has been unseasonably comfortable in these winter months. Although many of us love the warmer days of winter, for our drought the feelings are not exactly positive. In these winter days with the temperatures above normal, more people are out there on the roadways bicycling for exercise, for recreation, to run errands, to commute to work or to just plain conserve energy.
The U. S. Census Bureau showed that from 2000-2012 the number of Americans traveling to work by bicycle increased from 488,000 to approximately 786,000. Riding a bicycle is not just for kids anymore. Riding your bike offers health, financial and environmental benefits.
Unfortunately, cyclists and drivers make many mistakes that cause crashes. When a crash happens involving a motorist and cyclist, who is more likely to be injured or killed?
Let’s look at statistics: in 2012, bicyclists accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities and 2 percent of all crash related injuries. The U. S. Census Bureau states that these types of crashes occur between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight, with 48% in rural areas, and 69% in urban environments. Nine out of ten of those killed are male riders. Here is a sobering number: one in four bicyclists (24%) that died in these crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, which is the illegal alcohol level in all states.
A total of 677 pedalcyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2011. The 14-and-younger age group accounted for 9% of those fatalities, and males accounted for 69% of the fatalities among pedalcyclists age 14 and younger.
All crashes and deaths involving vehicular traffic sharing the road with bicyclists can be prevented by simply following the rules of the road.
• In Nevada motorists must maintain a 3 foot distance from a bicyclist on the roadway.
• Avoid drinking and driving or riding. It is against the law for bicyclists in many states.