The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on Georgia and other states to take stringent action to reduce the number of bicyclists killed in accidents every year.
The National Transportation Board recently released its first report on bicycle safety since 1972. The Board makes note of the fact that there has been a spike in bicycle accident deaths, specifically the 857 bicycle accident deaths that occurred in 2018. There was an increase in bicycle accident deaths in 2018, even as there was an overall drop in auto accidents that year. Those numbers were an increase of 6.3 percent from the previous year. In fact, the bicycle accident death toll in 2018 was the highest number on record since 1990.
The record fatality numbers in 2018 is likely the reason why the National Transportation Safety Board has decided to address the issue of bicycle safety for the first time since 1972. The Board makes note of the poor infrastructure that is often the cause of bicycle accidents. Too many cities in Georgia have seen an increase in their bicycle population, but oftentimes there is no safe infrastructure in place to support it. This situation has resulted in a staggering increase in bicycle accident deaths in urban areas. Since 2009, the number of bicycle accident deaths in urban areas has increased by a whopping 48 percent.
The Board recommends simple steps that cities can take to reduce these deaths. For example, reducing the number of vehicles to make space for bike lanes is one of the most effective strategies that can minimize the risk to bicyclists. Protected bike lanes that are raised from the roadway level can be even more helpful in protecting bicyclists.
Infrastructure enhancements are critical to helping keep bicyclists safer. Too often, the onus is placed on bicyclists to prevent their accidents. While bicyclists are responsible for ensuring their safety by wearing helmets and obeying traffic laws when riding, city planners and motorists must also share in the responsibility to help keep bicyclists safer. Cities must invest in safe bicycle infrastructure. Likewise, motorist must be attentive to cyclists on the road to avoid causing an accident. This requirement has become even more necessary in the COVID-19 era when maintaining social and physical distancing, as well avoiding mass transit, have become imperative. Bicycling is likely to boom in the next few months, as it already has in the cities in which the COVID-19 epidemic has been widespread, like New York. The trend is likely to become even stronger in the months ahead as Atlanta residents look for safer ways to travel. Authorities need to invest in safer bicycling for a smoother transition to travel in the post-pandemic era.
The Atlanta bicycle accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured as a result of bicycle accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, speak to an Atlanta bicycle accident attorney at our firm, and discuss whether your case is eligible for a legal claim for damages.