Washington Fatal Bicycle Accidents
A 2015 annual report by the Washington State Department of Transportation reveals that a pedestrian or a bicyclist has been involved in a collision every 2.5 hours. One pedestrian or cyclist was killed on the road every four days.
Washington ranks 27th among the deadliest states for cyclists. The average annual deaths per one million people are 1.4. Taking the annual numbers in consideration, six cyclists were killed in 2010, 11 in 2011 and 12 in 2012. Unfortunately, more recent statistics suggest that the upward trend is still ongoing.
Fatal Bicycle Accident Statistics
The 2015 report suggests that 14 cyclists were killed on the roads in Washington during the year. The total number of people involved in such collisions was 1,427, and the serious injuries reached 107. These are some of the main reasons why boosting cyclist safety ranks among the biggest priorities for the local department of transportation.
The situation in 2015 is a lot worse than the accident statistics for 2014. In 2014, seven cyclists were killed. The number of serious injuries was 102. Minor injuries affected 1,194 people, and the total collision number was 1,319.
As far as 2013 data goes, here are the important highlights: 11 bicyclists were killed, 82 people suffered serious injuries, the total minor injuries are 1,181, and the number of collisions was 1,282.
Washington also has an interesting breakdown of the circumstances that have contributed to a crash. A few of the most common factors in the case of biking collisions include the following:
- Inattention and distraction – 252 cases
- Failure to yield right of way – 198
- Disregard for traffic signals – 46
- Disregard for stop sign or a red light – 36
- Headlight violation – 36
- Excessive speed – 31
- Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs – 26
As far as Washington DC numbers are concerned, more than 100 cyclists lost their lives in the area in the period from 1987 to 2014. Of all local jurisdictions, Prince George’s has the highest number of fatalities – 36. District of Colombia follows with 25, Montgomery has 21 and Fairfax witnessed 19 cyclist deaths.
Measures Aimed at Reducing Biking Fatalities
The use of bikes for commuting purposes is growing in both the DC area and throughout the state. According to biking advocates, however, policemen don’t seem well-versed in cycling laws. A Capitol Police spokesperson has responded by saying that entire departments are trained to investigate such crashes and ensure the safety of cyclists throughout the state.
In December 2014, Capitol Police updated some of its most prominent biking regulations. Still, advocates for the rights of cyclists report that quite often, bikers are blamed for their involvement in accidents – an approach that’s counterproductive to efforts aimed at increasing bicycle commuting in the state.
Washington state does have thorough biking laws. Regulations focus on the use of safety gear, riding on the road, safety measures for kids on bikes, nighttime riding, and areas that have restricted access for cyclists. The area that could potentially see some improvement is the enforcement of these regulations.
To reduce the number of accidents, the state has also adopted a Strategic Highway Safety Plan 2016. The plan aims to reduce the number of people losing their lives on the road. Through the plan, Washington aims to set statewide priorities, provide resources for the addressing of every single priority, help guide federal and state funding to the traffic areas that need it the most and monitor the outcome of such projects.