How Many Preventable Deaths Will it Take for Philly to Care About Bicycle Safety?

As of July 30, 2020, 54 people have lost their lives on Philadelphia roads. That includes 26 pedestrians and three bicyclists. 

Some say that Philadelphia roads are extremely dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians. They wonder when city officials or state legislators are going to do something about it.

Three Bicyclists Lost Their Lives Within 30 Days

Within one month, three bicyclists died in Philadelphia bicycle accidents. 

The first bicycle accident this year took the life of 17-year-old Sam Ozer. He was riding home from work on Father’s Day when a vehicle struck his bicycle on Henry Avenue. The bicycle accident occurred just 800 feet from an intersection that has been the site of ten traffic-related fatalities within the past five years.

The second bicycle accident resulted in the death of 18-year-old Nadir Nafis Holloman, Jr. He was killed at a busy intersection in front of Lloyd Hall while crossing Sedgley Road and Kelly Drive.

The third bicycle accident occurred on July 12. A hit-and-run driver killed 32-year-old William Lindsay as he was riding his bicycle along the 3800 block of Ridge Avenue. Mr. Lindsay later died at Temple University Hospital. 

Sadly, all three deaths were preventable. The causes of the traffic accidents were motorist errors and negligence. However, until laws change and safer streets and bicycle lanes are created, the number of bicycle deaths in Philadelphia may continue to increase.

Bicycle Accident Statistics for Pennsylvania

Nationwide in 2018, 857 bicyclists died in traffic crashes. That number was slightly higher than the number of bicycle fatalities for 2017. 

Additionally, approximately 47,000 bicycle accident injuries were reported in 2018. Just over three-fourths of the bicycle fatalities occur in urban areas, and 29 percent of the fatal accidents occurred at intersections.

In Pennsylvania, 90 bicyclists died between 2014 and 2018. Most bicycle accidents occurred during daylight hours. Accidents at intersections resulted in the majority of bicycle injuries, while most bicycle fatalities occurred at non-intersections. 

What Can Be Done to Prevent Bicycle Accidents in Philadelphia?

Many groups are calling on local officials to make city streets safer for bicyclists. Also, they are working with state lawmakers to pass laws that increase safety for bicyclists.

One law, Senate Bill 565, is waiting to go to the full Senate for a vote. If the bill is passed and signed into law, it will allow for the construction of protected bike lanes throughout the commonwealth. An example of a protected bicycle lane is a lane constructed by parked vehicles and a sidewalk.

In addition to advocating for more bicycle lanes and safer streets, bicyclists can take steps to reduce the risk of a bicycle accident. Bike riders cannot control what motorists do, but they can:

  • Wear brightly colored clothing to increase visibility to motorists
  • Always wear a bicycle helmet and other bicycle safety equipment
  • Add reflectors and lights to the bicycle to increase visibility
  • Always use hand signals to indicate direction
  • Watch for individuals opening car doors 
  • Obey all traffic laws, traffic signals, and traffic signs
  • Ride in groups whenever possible to increase visibility
  • Teach children safe bicycle rules
  • Never ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs that can impair your ability to ride safely
  • Avoid all distractions while riding, including cell phones and other electronics

For more bicycle safety information, you can visit the websites for PennDOT, Centers for Disease Control, NHTSA.

What Should I Do After a Bicycle Accident in Philadelphia?

A Philadelphia bicycle accident can cause a variety of injuries, including but not limited to:

If a motorist or other party causes a bicycle crash, that person can be liable for your damages. Damages in a bicycle accident case include medical bills, physical pain, scarring, loss of income, emotional trauma, and permanent impairments.

Proving that the other party or a motorist caused your bicycle accident is the first step in recovering compensation for your damages. A bicycle accident attorney can investigate the crash and gather evidence proving fault. Factors that often lead to a bicycle accident include:

In most cases, treat a bicycle accident as you would any traffic accident. Report the accident to the police and request assistance. Do not discuss the bicycle accident with the insurance company until you speak with a bicycle accident lawyer.

Go to the doctor as soon as possible to document your physical injuries. Keep copies of all bills, receipts, invoices, pay records, and other evidence related to the accident and your damages. Have an attorney review the case and any settlement offer before you sign any papers, give a formal statement, or accept a settlement offer.

When you accept a settlement offer and sign the release, you give up your legal right to pursue a claim. Learn about your options and rights from a trusted legal source instead of trusting a claims adjuster who is looking out for the insurance company’s best interest.