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Anyone who rides a bike in Maryland knows that it can be dangerous. Drivers – whether in cars or trucks – rush past so closely that they seem like they will hit your elbow as you bike on the side of the road. Most serious bicyclists know of at least one biker who has been hit, and it is the rare cyclist who cannot remember an incident in which they narrowly avoided a collision.
The statistics for bicycle accidents in Maryland, therefore, come as little surprise for cyclists in the state. However, they bear reading for drivers who do not fully understand or appreciate the dangers that bikers face on a daily basis and close studying for people who want to improve their safety on the roads. The personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian in Baltimore know these statistics and what they mean, and strive to represent as many victims of bicycle accidents in the state as possible because getting them the compensation they need and deserve is the best way to help them get back on their feet.
NHTSA and DOT Keep Tabs on Bike Crashes
Two agencies keep tabs on bicycle accidents that happen in Maryland: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Maryland Department of Transportation (DOT). Unfortunately, the NHTSA’s numbers lag several years behind the current date. The DOT’s figures, on the other hand, tend to be released in the fall of one year, covering up to the year prior.
Despite being slightly dated, though, both sets of numbers are worth looking at, as they compile extensive data of not just the number of bicycle crashes in Maryland, but also on the details that surround each of those crashes, as well.
Bike Accident Statistics for 2016
The most recent data set for bike crashes in Maryland is for 2016 and comes from the DOT. According to this report, there were a total of 851 bicycle accidents in Maryland, that year. The vast majority of these accidents – 692 of them, or 81% of them – resulted in an injury of some sort to the biker, with 16 of those injuries proving to be fatal.
The DOT’s numbers, however, do not stop there. They go into great detail about many of the factors that were involved in the crashes that happened within state lines, providing crucial information on how these accidents developed.
A telling, though unsurprising, statistic revealed in the DOT’s report is that the vast majority of the bicycle accidents that happen in Maryland occur between May and October. In fact, 69.6% of the total bicycle accidents happened during these months in 2016.
More disturbing, though, are the numbers that show how important a bicyclist’s age can be as a factor in these crashes. According to the DOT’s figures, the age group that is most at risk for being involved in a bike accident are teens and tweens aged 10 through 15. 121 of these bikers were involved in crashes in 2016, accounting for 14.2% of all of the cyclists who were hit by vehicles that year. The second-most vulnerable age group was close by: bikers between the ages of 20 and 24 were involved in 117 accidents or another 13.7% of the total. Together, they accounted for 28.3% of the injuries and fatalities suffered by cyclists, as a whole.
Statistics Show Trends in Bicycle Accidents in Maryland
These numbers for 2016, however, are meaningless when there is no context provided. Without figures from other years, it is impossible to tell if the accident, injury, and fatality totals are something to point to as successes of past policy changes, or warning signs that things are getting worse.
Looking to the DOT and NHTSA’s earlier reports and numbers from other states highlight how far Maryland has to go before it can be considered a safe place to cycle.
Perhaps nowhere is the problem more prominent than in the following chart from the DOT, outlining the accident, injury, and fatality totals in Maryland over the past five years:
Total Bike Crashes
Perhaps most disturbing is the sharp increase in the number of fatalities that Maryland bikers have suffered – it has more than tripled over the course of three short years. However, it is important to remember that, with such a small sample size, steep increases like these can be the result of anomalies. With that said, though, the total number of bicycle crashes in the state has shown a marked increase over the past few years – and the size of this data set suggests that this is not a mistake in the numbers.
Another valuable trend to note is in the NHTSA’s figures, which compare Maryland’s bicycle accident rate with that of other states in the U.S. Here, while Maryland is faring better than many other states in the country, there is still much room for improvement: in 2015, 2.1% of the traffic fatalities in Maryland were bikers, making for 1.8 bikers suffering fatal injuries on the road for every million people in the state. While both of these numbers are better than the national average – 2.3% of the national road fatalities in 2015 were bikers, accounting for 2.5 bikers per million people – there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Maryland Bicycle Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
The number of bicyclists who get hurt while on the roads of Maryland is terrible. Worse, many of these injuries are severe, and some of them are even fatal. Having legal representation on hand to recover the compensation you need to prevent the accident from also impacting your financial well-being is crucial.
That is why the personal injury attorneys at the Gilman & Bedigian law office in Baltimore strives to represent victims of bike accidents in the state. Contact us online for the legal help you need to get the compensation that you deserve in this trying time of your life.