Approximately 2% of fatal motor vehicle accidents involve bicyclists. The most serious injuries to bicyclists and the reason for most fatalities are severe head and brain injury. It is estimated that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a head injury by 85% in a bicycle accident.
Currently, Washington state does not have a state law which requires bicyclists to wear a helmet. However, many cities and some counties do require helmets. In Western Washington, Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Kent, Puyallup, Renton, Tacoma and Vancouver require helmets. In addition King County, which includes Seattle and Bellevue also require bicycle riders to wear helmets.
Fatal bicycle accident facts
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) on bicycle accident fatalities. In looking at the data, they following facts emerged:
- In 2008, 714 bicyclists were killed in accidents with motor vehicles in 2008. This is an increase of 14% since 2003.
- 87% of the bicyclists who were killed were male.
- 91% of the bicyclists who were killed were wearing helmets.
- Of those killed, 26% of the cyclists over the age of 16 had a BAC of 0.08% or greater.
- 34% of the fatal accidents occurred between August and October.
- 21% of the fatal bicycle accidents occurred between 6pm and 9pm.
- 13% of those killed in bicycle accidents were under the age of 16.
- 68% of the fatal bicycle accident occurred in urban areas.
- 38% of the fatal accidents occurred at intersections.
For a complete look at the Insurance Institute’s analysis of the FARS data, click here.
This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in bicycle accidents and the families of those killed. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages, including pain and suffering.