Room for Improvement for Bicycle Accident Prevention in Philadelphia
From Center City to Elmwood Park, bicyclists are a common sight throughout Philadelphia, which commemorated its 20th observance of National Bike to Work Day on May 15.
As an experienced attorney in Philadelphia knows, bike riding is more than a one-day phenomenon across the City of Brotherly Love. It’s a way of life for thousands of commuters, hobbyists, students and visitors looking to discover the city’s many parks and historic areas.
As such, it’s critical for everybody on the road – and especially drivers of larger vehicles – to remain alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. A failure to do so can lead to a serious bicycle accident in a matter of seconds.
Pair of Accidents Brings Bicycle Safety to Forefront
ABC 6 recently reported on a pair of accidents involving Temple University students who were injured – one fatally – while bicycling in Philadelphia.
On April 29, the article reports that a student was seriously injured after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver on the University’s main campus in Philadelphia. Less than two weeks later, on May 11, another Temple University student was struck and killed while riding his bike on Girard Avenue.
Officials from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia told ABC 6 that 14,000 people commute to work via bicycle more than three days a week and an average of 500 reportable bicycle accidents occur each year. To reduce the number of accidents, it’s important for drivers to understand how to share the road with cyclists. According to the law, a bicycle is a vehicle and must be treated as such.
Safety tips for drivers include yielding the right-of-way to cyclists if there is no safe place to pass on the road, and, when passing a bicyclist, giving cyclists at least four feet of room to maneuver. Additionally, drivers of cars and trucks are urged to avoid using bicycle lanes as parking.
Philadelphia Aiming to Increase Bicycle-Friendliness
According to Philly.com, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that more people commute to work via bicycle, per capita, in Philadelphia than in any other of the top ten largest cities in the United States. In fact, an annual survey of cyclists during rush hour between West Philadelphia and Center City showed a 260 percent increase between 2005 and 2013.
Furthermore, South Philadelphia and Center City bicycle commuting rates top five percent, ranking them among the top 25 neighborhoods for bicycle commuters in the United States.
The Philly.com article attributed much of the city’s success to recently opened bike-share program Indego – which generated 8,000 trips in its first week – and to the city’s forward-thinking stance on developing trails and bike lanes designed to create an integrated system for cyclists and pedestrians across the city.
With 200 miles of bike lanes already in place, the regional network – known as the Circuit – is planned to include more than 750 miles of trails spanning nine Pennsylvania and New Jersey counties.
With infrastructure changes on the way designed to increase the city’s bicycle-friendliness, now is an important time for drivers of cars and trucks to remember to stay alert, aware and respectful of bicyclists’ rights at all times.
Our personal injury attorneys in Philadelphia are dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims. Contact Flager & Associates at 215-953-5200 or visit www.flagerlaw.com today to schedule a consultation. Serving Philadelphia, Bucks County and surrounding areas.