According to a report released last week by The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) fatal bicycle-motor vehicle accidents  are on the rise after two decades of decline with adults, rather than children, now more likely to be the victims. In fact, in 2015 (the
data year being reported) 88% of fatal accidents involved an adult                                        
 and in 70% of cases, it was a male. Most of the accidents (70%) occurred in an urban area and in the majority of crashes, (54%) the cyclist was not wearing a helmet. Alcohol was implicated in 27% of the accidents, with the cyclist having a blood alcohol level greater than .01.

Complete report:

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With the increasing push for people to use bicycling as an alternative mode of transportation for getting to work and around town, and encouraging people to ride bikes for exercise and leisure, this report is a wake-up call  for all of us to work a little harder at sharing the road. A 2016 report by researchers at the University of Iowa found the following causes of bicycle-motor vehicle accidents.

  • A driver over takes a bike going in same direction and side swipes the rider
    • To prevent these types of accidents:
      • Drivers should be alert for cyclists on the side of the roadway
      • Cyclists should avoid narrow roads, especially after dark
  • A driver makes a turn at an intersection (right or left) and crosses the path of a cyclist
    • To prevent these types of accidents:
      • Drivers should look in their blind spots for cyclists behind or next to them before and across the intersection before turning.
      • Cyclists should wear bright clothes, go slow enough at an intersection to allow for a complete stop, stop in front of or behind – not next to a car, avoid riding on sidewalks, the right side of cars, never assume a driver will use the blinkers before turning.
  • A driver goes straight and a cyclist comes from the side and crosses in front of him/her
    • To prevent these types of accidents:
      • Cyclists should scan for traffic before turning, signal when turning, take up entire lane before turning.
  • A driver enters the road from a driveway, parking lot, side street or alley and drives into the cyclist.
    • To prevent these types of accidents:
      • Drivers should go slowly in areas where there are multiple driveway entrances, and alley ways and look both ways as proceeding.
      • Cyclists should enter roadway slowly after looking for traffic both ways.
  • A cyclist rides on the wrong side of the road (ride a bike with the flow of traffic, walk against traffic)
    • To prevent these types of accidents:
      • Drivers should be attentive to cyclists riding the wrong way.
      • Cyclists should ride with the flow of traffic
  • A driver opens a car door and slams into a cyclist
    • To prevent these types of accidents
      • Drivers should look behind before opening the car door, open it slowly, and close it quickly
      • Cyclists should ride 4 feet away from parked cars, use their mirrors to see what’s behind if they have to swerve, look into parked cars to see if they are empty.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers these other suggestions -
         For cyclists:

  1. Wear a helmet!  Use the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute website for a comprehensive list of helmet manufacturers (
  2. Ride a bike that fits you (not to big, not too small…)
  3. Make sure the bike works – brakes, steering
  4. Ride one person to a bike
  5. Carry all items in a backpack or secured to the back of the bike
  6. Obey street signs – they are meant for anyone using the roads (stop signs, traffic lights, etc.)
  7. No texting, earphones, etc., pay attention.

   For drivers:

  1. Yield to cyclists as you would any other vehicle
  2. Obey the speed limits
  3. Give cyclists room, don’t pass too closely

For everyone – DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

For more information:

Bicycle accident prevention (animation)

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

National Safety Council
Bike Safety