You undoubtedly recall that Bicycling magazine has in the past named Portland as America’s leading bicycle-friendly city. Though we are ranked number two this year (behind Minneapolis, Minnesota), our love of bicycling is as strong as ever.
Unfortunately, the numbers of deaths and injuries in bicycle accidents continues to be far too high in our city and across the nation.
According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, approximately 49,000 bicyclists were injured in 2012, up from about 48,000 the year before.
In some way, the figures are seen as relatively good news. After all, the popularity of bicycling has soared in recent years, though the numbers of injuries and fatalities have remained fairly flat. However, every injury represents a person who has suffered harm, often because of automobile drivers who don’t respect bicyclists and give them needed space, or who simply aren’t paying enough attention to their surroundings.
The Information Center notes that “hospital records (show) that only a fraction of bicycle crashes causing injury are ever recorded by the police” – perhaps only 10 percent of all bike accidents are reported to law enforcement.
Even grimmer are the bicyclist fatalities: 726 in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The cost of those hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries is pegged by the National Safety Council at more than $4 billion per year. Can we really put a dollar figure on pain and tragedy? No. But we can add up the costs of jobs lost, income lost, medical care expenses, etc., and we can demand compensation for victims and victims’ families, not only for dollars lost or spent, but for what they must endure emotionally and physically.
That’s what experienced attorneys can help people do in the aftermath of a car accident that causes injury or death to a bicyclist.