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Report: More bicyclists dying in collisions with motor vehicles

It is certainly easy to see why motorcyclists and their passengers have a comparatively high risk of serious injury or even death in accidents involving cars and trucks.

It is even more immediately apparent why dire crash outcomes routinely befall bicyclists in collisions with motor vehicles.

Bike/motor vehicle accidents have always occurred with some regularity on America’s roadways, with the results invariably being the same. The lack of protection afforded bicyclists is obvious and far too often results in catastrophic injuries or death for bike riders.

A recent bicycle safety report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association underscores just how serious a problem fatal bicycle accidents pose for riders and safety officials across the United States. Accidents that take the lives of riders are clearly on the rise, with the GHSA noting “remarkable changes” that need to be carefully reflected upon and addressed.

One of those changes is clearly relevant to Illinois, given its sizable population. The GHSA report notes that fully 54 percent of all bike deaths that occurred across the United States between 2010 and 2012 came from crashes in just a handful of states, with Illinois being one of them.

That owes, of course, to the large urban pockets that dot states like Illinois, California and New York. The GHSA study states that nearly 70 percent of all bike-related deaths that occurred nationally in 2012 were in urban areas.

That promises to be a progressively growing problem, given clear evidence showing that increasingly more people are taking to their bikes to commute to and from work in congested areas. Data supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau show that the number of bike commuters has spiked by more than 60 percent since 2000.

The GHSA states that many of those riders are adult males, and that this demographic is precisely the most problematic when it comes to bike fatalities. In fact, it is posited that nearly three of every four bicyclists killed in 2012 was a male 20 years of age or older.

The progressively expanding influx of bicyclists commuting in urban areas across the country is obviously something to be concerned about and a new reality that safety officials are closely focused upon.

Proactive safety-enhancing rules and policies will have to be enacted to help ensure that drivers of motor vehicles and bicyclists can co-exist safely on busy roadways.

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