Bicycling is rapidly becoming a year-round activity in Virginia and throughout the United States. People ride for exercise, for the good of the environment and to save money. More people take to the roads on their bicycles in the warm weather and this is reigniting concerns about rider safety. Advocates for safety improvements are taking steps to bring attention to the dangers. Despite that, riders remain at high risk for serious injuries and loss of life in a crash. Knowing what options are available after a collision is critical.
‘Ride of Silence’ seeks to improve bicycle awareness
The Virginia “Ride of Silence” was held to bring attention to bicyclist safety. It is a program designed to honor riders who suffered injuries or were killed while riding. It was a slow ride of over seven miles. This has become a tradition in the area, having been held every year for 15 years. May is also “National Bike Month” where drivers are reminded to give riders room and pay attention to them.
There is a statistical reason for this and Virginia has tried to craft legislation with riders in mind. The Centers for Disease Control states that across the nation, an estimated 1,000 people lose their lives and around 130,000 are hurt in these types of accidents. Riders who are involved in the Ride of Silence share anecdotes of near-misses of their own and friends who have been involved in collisions while on a bicycle.
In Virginia, the new laws went into effect on July 1, 2021. Examples of what drivers are now obligated to do include switching lanes if bicyclists are passing unless they are in wide lanes when they must be separated by three feet. Also, riders can now ride beside one another instead of in single file.
The roads are challenging for bicyclists
The sad reality is that accidents are frequently unavoidable. Drivers are increasingly distracted, reckless and violate the law.
In any auto accident involving a bicyclist, there is a significant chance the rider will suffer serious injuries or even lose their life. Medical expenses can be massive and the long-term impact can harm them and their family. When there is a fatality, it is even more troubling. For help in gathering evidence and deciding on the preferable course of action, having professional assistance is wise.