Early last Sunday morning, a cyclist was struck and killed by a motor vehicle in Carlsbad, according to San Diego’s local CBS 8 News. In this bicycle accident case, the victim was headed north in the bike lane on El Camino Real, just north of La Costa, when a northbound vehicle struck the cyclist from behind. The victim had been with a fellow rider at the time of the accident. Several people called 911 to report the crash.
The victim, Eric Rindahl, was a 45-year-old Carlsbad resident with a wife and children, according to CarlsbadPatch.com.
Ringdahl sustained a head injury and was left unconscious after being struck from behind by the vehicle, according to the Carlsbad Police Department. Although police and fire personnel responded to the scene, the bicyclist died at the scene. At the time of the news report, the driver of the vehicle had not been cited or arrested, but the accident remains under investigation.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
How often do bicycle accidents lead to injuries and fatalities? According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, it’s difficult to know the actual number of bicycle accidents each year, since only about 10 percent are recorded by the police. This percentage represents “only a fraction of bicycle crashes causing injury.” When looking at the statistics we do have, the number of deaths from bicycle accidents remains alarming.
Back in 1995, there were 830 reported bicyclist deaths. This number seems to have decreased in the 2000s, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of annual deaths in the last ten years has remained between 600-800 fatalities per year.
While the number of bicyclist fatalities hasn’t shown a significant decrease, the number of reported bicyclist injuries does appear to have decreased significantly. In 1995, the NHTSA reported 61,000 bicyclist injuries, which has decreased to 38,000 reported bicyclist injuries in 2011.
In most cases, injuries and fatalities tended to occur in urban areas, and a majority occurred during workday rush hours and into the evening. For example, the NHTSA reported that 72 percent of pedacyclist deaths in 2010 occurred in urban land areas, and more than 50 percent of those fatalities occurred between 4:00p.m. and 11:59p.m.
These statistics suggest some patterns in bicyclist injuries and fatalities, but they can’t account for all factors. Accordingly, the NHTSA suggests that all bicyclists be informed about roadway safety.
Safety Reminders for Bicyclists
To encourage roadway safety, the NHTSA provides some important safety reminders for those of us who choose to ride bicycles:
· Always wear a properly fitted helmet. It’s the “single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.”
· Obey the rules of the road! Bicyclists are considered to be vehicle operators, and they’re required to obey the same rules as motor vehicle operators. This includes obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
· Increase your visibility by wearing brightly colored clothes or fluorescent markings while you’re on your bicycle at all times of the day. Additionally, at night you should use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light. When riding at night, you can be extra careful by adding retro-reflective tape to your clothing.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney today to discuss your case.