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Study shows that reckless driving causes most cycling accidents

When you hit the road for a training or a commute, how many cars honk their horns at you while you are pedaling like mad? How many close calls have you had with drivers that did not see you? Of these encounters, how many times did they occur because you were not following traffic laws, wearing brightly colored clothing or staying in the bike lane? Chances are that 99.99 percent of these occasions occurred for no other reason than because you were cycling.

In general, drivers think of cyclists as annoyances, riding their bikes where only cars are meant to be, and causing road hazards. In reality, only a very small proportion of cycling accidents happen due to the actions of the cyclist him- or herself. While many reports seem to be pointing the finger at cyclists for engaging in risky behavior, such as ignoring traffic signals and riding with earbuds in, a government study suggests otherwise.

What the statistics say

The Department of Transportation conducted a study that found that only two percent of cycling collisions with cars, pedestrians or others on the road happened because a cyclist ran a stop sign or red light. A lack of brightly colored or reflective clothing at night played a role in two-and-a-half percent of accidents, while not using lights was an issue two percent of the time.

The study included a look at all cycling fatalities that occurred between 2005 and 2007. Of these, more than 25 percent involved a car or truck running into a cyclist from behind. In addition, the research also concluded that law enforcement officers distributed fault for collisions fairly evenly among drivers and cyclists. In cases that involved only adult cyclists, officers placed full blame on the driver in 60 to 70 percent of all instances and riders carried the fault 17 to 25 percent of the time.

Drivers: Respect cyclists' rights to share the roadways

CTC, a cycling lobbyist group, has taken the results of the study as a clear indication that the government needs to put programs in place that address driver behavior instead of spending more time encouraging cyclists to wear helmets. The group argues that the study supports their view that the leading cause of cycling injuries and deaths is due to bad driving and that no amount of safety equipment is going to save a rider from a driver that is not paying attention.

If you have suffered injuries due to a bicycle accident involving a negligent driver in Biloxi, you might be able to take legal action to recover the cost of your medical bills and other expenses. Your attorney will be able to help you file a claim so that you get the compensation you deserve.

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