Bike And Pedestrian Deaths On The Rise Nationwide

After several years of higher-than-average traffic fatality rates, Oregon's traffic safety record has begun to reverse itself. One of the greatest improvements has been in the area of bicycle safety, which is a topic of growing concern nationwide. Although fatal bike accidents have declined in Oregon over the past year, they have been rising throughout much of the nation.

Bicycle Crashes

Five bicyclists lost their lives on Oregon roads in 2013, which was just half the number of those who died in bike crashes the year before. Overall pedestrian fatalities also declined in 2013, with a total of 317 such deaths. This was a decline of 6 percent from 2012 and was on par with 2010 as the lowest number of traffic deaths the state has seen since 1943.

Nationwide, however, bicycle and pedestrian deaths have been climbing in recent years, and government officials are taking notice. According to a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, fatal bike accidents increased by 16 percent between 2010 and 2012 throughout the United States. During that same time period, overall traffic fatalities increased by just 1 percent.

As these statistics indicate, bicycle accidents now make up a larger share of overall fatal traffic accidents than in the past. A disproportionate share of the increase in bike fatalities has occurred in urban areas, where more than two-thirds of these crashes now take place, according to 2012 data from the GHSA. In 1975, only about half of cyclist traffic deaths occurred in urban areas. Experts attribute much of that change to a corresponding increase in bicycle commuting, which has risen by 62 percent since the year 2000.

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian deaths have also been increasing nationwide since 2009, the GHSA reports. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash about once every two hours the United States. Bikers are injured by motor vehicles even more frequently, at a rate of about one every eight minutes.

One factor that some experts say may contribute to the recent rise in pedestrian accidents is distraction. Both drivers and walkers are more likely to be involved in a crash when they are preoccupied by cellphones and other distractions. Distracted pedestrians may be less likely to check for cars before stepping into the street, and often take longer to cross a roadway than others on foot. Meanwhile, distracted drivers are often less alert to their surroundings and may fail to notice pedestrians or traffic signals.

Compensation May Be Available For Crash Injuries

People who have been injured or lost a loved one in a traffic accident may have the opportunity to receive financial compensation for certain losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages funeral costs and more. Talk to a personal injury lawyer to learn more if you or a family member has been involved in a crash.