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NHTSA 2012 data highlights the dangers of bike-car accidents

Florida residents enjoy riding bicycles around their communities. People love bicycle riding as a sport or recreation. However, riding a bicycle has its risks, and one of the risks is getting injured in a car accident.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a 2012 report that highlights the number of bicyclist killed in auto accidents and other motor-vehicle accidents every year. According to the report, a total of 726 pedalcyclists have died and around 49,000 people suffered injuries as a result motor-vehicle accidents. Bicycle accidents accounted for 2 percent of those injured in traffic accidents that year. The data also revealed that 2012 bicycle fatalities were 6 percent higher compared to 2011. 69 percent of all bicycle fatalities occurred in urban areas, while 60 percent happened at non-intersections. And while people of all ages are at risk of bicycle accidents, individuals aged 45 to 54 had the highest death rate, while those aged 10-15 had the highest injury rate. Children aged 15 and below made up 9 percent of all bicycle fatalities.

When it comes to alcohol impairment, rates of car accidents and bicycle accident are similar. The NHTSA 2012 Traffic Safety Facts revealed that 28 percent of bicyclists killed in 2012 were alcohol impaired. These victims had a blood alcohol concentration of .01 grams or higher. However, drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes were found to be under the influence of alcohol as well. In 32 percent of bicycle-vehicle crashes, it was reported that either the bicyclist or driver was impaired.

Florida legally defines bicycles as a vehicle and there are laws that protect the rights of bicyclists on the road. Bicyclists and drivers have the same rights on roadways, but drivers should be more diligent in order to prevent car accidents.

Source: NHTSA.gov, "Bicyclists and Other Cyclists", Accessed on Jan. 8, 2015

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