The summer months means more time spent outdoors for residents in Montana. While certain activities are specific to the warm months, many will continue to ride their bicycles even when the weather turns cold. Nonetheless, motorists are faced with more cyclists on and near the roadways, meaning that drivers not only need to be aware of and observe bikes rode near them, but also travel safely around them.
Looking at the data collected from 2017 and 2018, the number of fatalities that occurred due to traffic related bike accidents was relatively unchanged. However, when look at the past decade, fatalities have increased by 30% with 785 fatalities in 2009 and 1,024 in 2018.
In contrast, the number of nonfatal injuries suffered as a result of a bicycle accident decreased by 44% in the past decade. In 2009, there was a recorded 518,750 in 2009. This number decreased to 289,076 in 2018.
Many of the deaths and injuries that have resulted from a motor vehicle colliding with a cyclist are deemed preventable. This means that the errors, negligence and recklessness of a motorist were the cause of the fatal and nonfatal injuries. One fact remains, the rate of these incidents increases during the warmer months.
Looking at the data for 2018, the fatality rate for bicycle-related deaths begins to increase in May and does not show much of a decrease until October. While the warm weather that spans during the period of time from Memorial Day until Labor causes an increase of cyclists, it also causes an increase in motorists as young drivers are out of school and individuals and families are traveling more frequently. Thus, a driver failing to take note of bicycles, distracted driving and speeding could be the result of a serious or fatal bike collision
The injuries that befall a cyclist following a bike accident can be significant. Even when a helmet is worn, injuries to the head, neck or back could occur. These can be very severe injuries, resulting in death or permanent disabilities. Thus, it is vital that victims and their loved ones explore their rights and options, such as filing a personal injury action or wrongful death claim. These civil actions could help hold a negligent motorist liable while also addressing the losses and damages arising from the incident.