Bicycling is an extremely popular form of transportation, exercise and entertainment in Pittsburgh. There are numerous trails to ride and sites to see in the area, making it a friendly place for cyclists of all types.
Pittsburgh also has a high number of traffic accidents, and not all of them concern collisions between passenger cars or other motor vehicles. A party that is seeing an increased risk of death is cyclists, reports the Post-Gazette.
For the whole state of Pennsylvania, bicycle crashes decreased in 2017 from previous years, but fatalities went up according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. This means that although fewer accidents are occurring, the ones that do happen are deadlier.
Those 45 to 54 years old had the most fatalities (38.1 percent), and those 20 to 34 years old had the most injuries (29.2 percent). The majority of accidents occurred during daylight hours, at intersections and on state roads. For deaths, accident locations most often did not have a traffic control device, but they did for injuries.
How to prevent accidents
A big factor in these accidents, shares the Post-Gazette, is drivers not seeing cyclists on the road. The city plans to improve bike lanes and slow down traffic to reduce incident rates. More riders on the roads will also help, as drivers are likelier to notice and react properly to many cyclists instead of just one. On an individual level, you can take the following steps to improve your safety:
- Wear a helmet to protect against traumatic brain injuries
- Wear visible, reflective clothing even during the day
- Know and follow all traffic rules regarding bicycles
- Use lighting when riding at night
- Use hand signals to let drivers know your intentions
- Make sure drivers see you before entering intersections
- Travel in a group when possible
Of course, you can only do so much to lower the odds of a car hitting you. If it happens, you can hold the driver legally responsible for your injuries.