Bicyclists and Pedestrian Deaths Increasing with Distracted Drivers

Distracted car driver on a cell phone.
Above photo shows a distracted car driver on a cell phone.

Recent years the national traffic data has shown an increase in bicyclist and pedestrian deaths caused by distracted driving, while other traffic-related deaths have decreased.

There were approximately 130 more people killed during 2011 in pedestrian-related deaths, than in 2010, which is a 3% increase. In this same year, the end of bicycle riders also increased at a rate of 8% or 54 individuals, at the same time other motor vehicle deaths were decreasing.

What is the Public Health Data on Bike Accidents?.

The data during recent years did not fully explain the reasons for the rising deaths of pedestrians or bicyclists. At the same time, the media focused on issues such as distracted walking or being under the influence while walking. In the Public Health Reports, a journal by the U.S. Public Health Service and the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General revealed a new study.

Media Versus Reality. Compare and Contrast.

In this study, the increase in these types of fatalities does not go along with what the media has focused on reporting. Instead, the data shows distracted driving is responsible for this increase in deaths — such things like texting while driving is to blame.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center used the Fatality Analysis Reporting System to study the data of fatal collisions. The information basis comes from the years 2005 through 2010. The study found a sharp increase in pedestrian and bicyclists deaths during these years. In fact, distracted driving was a factor in these collisions.

  • The numbers of fatalities during these years went from 2005 with 344 deaths to 2010 with 500 deaths. Above all else, distracted driving remained listed as a cause.
  • Bicycle deaths during that period rose from 56 to 73 casualties.
  • Combined pedestrian and bike rider fatalities accounted for about one in ten traffic deaths.
  • Cell phone use was a leading cause of 18.6%.

But other reasons for distraction were listed.

  • These included changing radio stations.
  • In fact, even tending to a child or eating while driving remained causes.

According to one researcher, Fernando Wilson, the biggest problem is that pedestrians and bicyclists do not have protection in a collision with a motor vehicle. For example, in a car, you have a safety cage and bumpers.

Wilson is one of the study’s authors and a professor at the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He believes non-motorized and motorized forms of travel, such as bike lanes will reduce the increase in deaths.

Man with helmet cam on his bike Man with helmet cam on his bike Man with helmet cam on his bike Man with helmet cam on his bike

Is A Helmet With A Camera Really That Important For Bicycle Riders?

Man with helmet cam on his bike
Duluth, GA, USA – August 2, 2014: A male cyclist wearing a Go Pro helmet cam races down a Duluth street as he competes in the Georgia Cup Criterium event.

Are you someone who has a bicycle and who likes to ride it often? If you do, then you must be aware of the many dangers of riding a bike. Bike riders are the most vulnerable people on the road. And this is because even the slightest hit from a motor vehicle can push them off the road and injure them severely.

While not every accident is a fatal one, most do result in severe injuries. The drivers of motor vehicles are safe in their metal cages. And too often they don’t pay much attention to bicycle riders.

If you ride a bike frequently, you need to take measures to ensure your safety. Wearing pads on the legs and elbows along with a helmet is the best you can do when riding a bicycle. Even with that equipment, you will not be the safest one on the road.

A camera on your bicycle helmet is something you should use for several reasons. This gadget can save you from many scenarios. For example, what if a car driver is trying to prove you as the negligent party. And what if this remains true despite the fact he was at wrong in that particular situation.

A Recent Incident Where Helmet Camera Inadvertently Saved The Cyclist


As noted in the above helmet camera video, Alan Crocker was collected by the camera on his bicycle helmet. When he was riding, a pickup truck driven by “Johnny” passed him carefully.

Noticing the danger, he flipped on his helmet cam. The truck driver once again came close to Crocker’s bicycle and dodged him from a very close distance. So he was trying to drain his anger in this way, even when he was wrong.

The name of the truck driver was Johnny. Putting Crocker to test by passing by him from a very close distance in his motor vehicle was not enough for Johnny. So he pulled over his truck a few meters ahead. When Crocker reached that point, Johnny grabbed him and started to beat him down.

As soon as the police arrived at the scene, Johnny had made up his mind that he would get Crocker in trouble. He told the cops that Crocker was the one trying to harass him in his truck. So the police were going to take action against Crocker.

That’s when Crocker showed police the camera footage on his bicycle’s helmet. Police had seen the truth. So Johnny was jailed for his actions. We can already see how difficult it could have become for Crocker to prove his innocence if he had no camera on his bicycle helmet.

Thousands of such incidents take place in the country every year. A helmet camera is essential for them too.

Other Ways Head Cams Can Protect.

A smart provider or wage earner should always be aware that his or her absence from being the breadwinner due to injury or death, can put the entire household in the poorhouse. Helmet cams can help find hit and run drivers. Also, it helps determine fault if hit or run over by a car or another object or person, etc.

Using direct evidence like this, subject to authentication, can mean the difference between leaving your family destitute. Or it could leave them in the same position economically they would have been had the accident not occurred.

Of course, the defendant would argue that this is of little probative value. Or it could be this evidence is unduly prejudicial. But most courts would probably allow this type of proof into play to prove things like notice, control, and to lead to other evidence that is admissible, etc.

Three Feet For Safety Act And Camera.

The California Vehicle Code was just updated. Now motor vehicle drivers must maintain a distance of at least 3 feet from the bicyclists when passing. According to the new enactment, the motor vehicles have to slow down before moving bicycles if it was impossible for them to maintain the safe distance of 3 feet. If you are involved in an accident where the motor vehicle driver did not keep this distance your helmet camera is the only way to prove your point.

How Serious Can Bicycle Accidents Get?

As discussed above, bicycle riders remain unsafe among the flood of vehicles on the roads. Forty-eight thousand bicycle riders got injured in 2011. Not to mention the 700 who lost their lives in these accidents. We are talking about a vehicle that does not have any engine. But the facts are:

  • If the bicycle rider receives injuries in his spinal cord, he could become paralyzed forever. The only way for this person to move about would then be to use wheelchairs and other similar equipment – a saddening change of lifestyle.
  • If brain injuries happen, the rider could lose his life. Trauma and disabilities are other consequences.
  • If the accident has resulted in broken bones, then the bicycle rider will have to stay in the hospital for a long time. He has to spend an extended period in the bed, and during this time he won’t be able to work. He will lose his income and have to incur substantial medical costs from the hospital.
  • If a limb is lost, the person will go through immense mental stress. And the use of prosthetics will require a lot of money and training as well.
  • Spine and lower body injuries could affect the marital life of a person and loss of companionship might be depressing.

Such injuries translate to enormous medical costs. And they go from the pocket of the bicycle rider if he does not seek help from a personal injury lawyer. How else can you get paid if you don’t pursue a settlement from the negligent party?

The Costs That Bicycle Rider Will Have To Bear

Stays in hospitals can be extremely expensive. Even if you have a sound healthcare policy, you could quickly end up with vast mountains of debts. Of course, this depends on your injuries.

But the treatment costs of brain and spine injuries are extortionate. Paralysis and loss of limbs could result in the permanent need for medical care. Such medical care for life is expensive.

Here is a list of damages a bicycle rider could incur after a motor vehicle accident.

  • The cost of hospital stays.
  • Fees of doctors and surgeons.
  • Costs of special procedures and therapies.
  • Permanent medical care costs.
  • Loss of income.
  • Costs of rehabilitation.
  • Loss of quality of life.
  • Mental agony.
  • Physical pain.
  • Loss of companionship etc.

Look For The Best Lawyers

Look for help from a lawyer as soon as an accident takes place. Make sure to get in touch with experienced lawyers only. Free first consultations and contingency fee plans can help you initiate the legal process. If you live in Los Angeles and need relentless representation for your case, go for Ehline Law Firm. Let these experienced lawyers arrange a settlement that covers every single penny from your pocket and more.


ABA Journal Article“Bicyclist’s helmet cam video persuades a police officer to ticket driver in a road-rage incident” (Source.)



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