Spring is in the air in North Carolina, and many residents are welcoming in the warmer weather by taking their bicycles out of storage. As a mode of transportation, bicycling has numerous benefits, from enhancing health to reducing carbon emissions.
But while biking in North Carolina may be eco-friendly and health-conscious, it’s not always entirely safe. Studies have found that North Carolina has the ninth highest bicycle and pedestrian fatality rate in the country. Our roads can be perilous for cyclists, who run a higher risk of being fatally wounded when involved in a collision with a motor vehicle.
Seeking to address this tremendous problem, the North Carolina Department of transportation recently launched WalkBikeNC.com—a website designed to improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility in our state.
The website features a variety of tools and recommendations for making bicycling and pedestrian avenues safer and more accessible. Some of the key features include:
Interactive bicycle map. The website offers a mapping tool with thousands of bicycle routes across the state, featuring turn-by-turn directions, destination information, and elevation profiles.
Safety proposals. The website allows visitors to access a comprehensive guide to bicycle and pedestrian design treatments that should be considered to make North Carolina roadways safer for all.
Guide to local resources. The site also features a comprehensive guide to local advocacy groups and pedestrian and bicycle commissions. Groups and committees that are not yet listed are invited to submit their information via an online form.
How the Site May Reduce Common North Carolina Cycling Accidents
According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information center, the vast majority of fatal cycling accidents are caused by negligent drivers. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles are faster and bigger than bicycles, and the force of motor vehicles colliding with an unprotected cyclist typically results in catastrophic, often fatal injuries.
By providing a comprehensive and interactive guide to safer routes, the website enables cyclists to travel to and from destinations with minimal use of dangerous roadways. On approved bike routes, cyclists are less vulnerable to common North Carolina cycling accidents such as:
Turning and merging accidents. According to research from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, the most common type of bicycle accident occurs when a motorist and cyclist are on a parallel path, and the motorist turns or merges into the cyclist’s path. The majority of these accidents occur when a motorist makes a left turn with an oncoming bicyclist.
Drunk driving accidents. Since drunk drivers often lack the clearness of mind necessary to spot and accommodate bikers, intoxicated drivers pose a big threat to cyclists on the road.
Failure to use headlights. When drivers neglect to use headlights, they are often unable to see cyclists in dark or rainy conditions.
Hit and run accidents. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for a motor vehicle to hit a cyclist and speed away without notice. When this happens, a cyclists could be left on the road in critical condition.
By providing safety tips and safer alternate routes, the site may be able to help reduce these and other catastrophic bicycling accidents that frequently occur on roads and highways. However, it’s clear that North Carolina has a long way to go in terms of bicycling and pedestrian safety.
If you or someone you care about was injured by a car while riding your bike in North Carolina, you have a right to compensation for your losses and suffering. Consult with a bicycle accident attorney, who can help you hold the at-fault driver responsible for their negligence and raise awareness to our state’s serious cyclist safety issue.
About the Author
Attorney Mike Schlosser represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.