Who is More Dangerous—Bicyclists or Motorists?

cyclists on the road

(Image Credit: Wikipedia.org)

On a list of the twenty-five most common causes of death, bicycling takes spot #17, with the odds of dying at 1 in 4,147 if you regularly ride a bicycle. The odds of dying in a car accident are much higher, at 1 in 272.

These statistics don’t, however really address whether bicyclists are the more dangerous drivers, or whether those who drive cars are the more dangerous drivers. The answer to that question lies largely in your perspective.

If you are a bicyclist who feels like you are forever dodging the much bigger hunks of metal, steel and glass, you are likely to believe motorists are much more dangerous on the roadways.

If you haven’t ridden a bicycle since third grade, bicyclists who take up a lane are likely to annoy you and result in you believing bicyclists cause more accidents.

Motorists tend to believe that bicyclists really don’t understand the rules of the roadways—and therefore should stay off of them. If you are talking to a motorist, you are likely to hear any or all of the following about bicyclists:

  • Bicyclists break the law;
  • Bicyclists ignore stop signs;
  • Roads are designed for cars;
  • Bicyclists are dangerous;
  • There’s simply not enough room for bike lanes;
  • Motorists pay road taxes and have to register their vehicle and put a license plate on it, therefore they have priority, and
  • We have to have cars to get around—we don’t have to have bicycles.

Who Breaks More Rules of the Road?

So, just how true are these statements? Well, one British study concluded that 60 percent of bicyclists admit to running red lights. While motorists would only admit to running yellow lights fairly often, and red lights rarely, two-thirds of motorists do admit to breaking a driving law at some point.

Further, United States drivers use their blinkers only 50 percent of the time when changing lanes, and only about a fourth of the time when making improper turns—a likely cause for as many as two million automobile accidents annually.

Bicyclists are certainly taking a risk by running as many red lights as they do, especially considering how difficult it can be to see a bicyclist in the first place. Motorists, on the other hand, definitely take the case on distracted driving behaviors, speeding, tailgating, driving while impaired and failing to signal.

Bicyclists are Much More Vulnerable to Injury

Addressing the statement that roads are made for cars, it has only been in the past six decades or so when cars have been given priority on the roadways.

Prior to that, pedestrians, streetcars, bicycles, buses, wagons, carts and horses, all took their turn on America’s roads.

As far as whether bicyclists are dangerous, the CDC concluded that although only one percent of trips in the United States are made on a bicycle, bicyclists face a much higher risk of crash-related injuries.

Nearly 700 people on bicycles are killed every year across America, and very, very occasionally, a bicyclist will hit and injure a pedestrian. The majority of bicyclist/motorist accidents occur because the motorist didn’t see the bicyclist, which means both parties can share the blame.

Motorists Don’t Necessarily Pay for the Highways

And for those motorists who believe they pay for the roads so they are entitled to drive on them and bicyclists are not, since 1947, the amount spent by the United States on highways and roadways has exceeded the amount collected from vehicle and fuel fees by more than $600 billion.

The remainder of the money comes from property taxes and the general fund, and bonds, in some cases, so bicyclists who have a home are also paying for the highways and roadways.

So—who is the most dangerous—bicyclists or motorists? Both have their own bad habits, but the bottom line is that a bicyclist has virtually no protection, while a motorist has safety belts, airbags, and is enclosed in a glass and steel cage.

Let’s all be a little kinder to one another and make bicyclists and motorists less dangerous.

Contact Our Jackson Bicycle Accident Lawyers

If you are involved in a bicycle accident in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced Mississippi accident attorney who will protect your rights and assist you in receiving a fair settlement for your injuries.

At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for injured Mississippi car and bicycle accident victims – to ensure that they receive the money they need to fully recover. We can help you obtain the money you need to fully recover. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600 or 1-877-231-1600.

Criminal Defense Attorney contact

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

Contact Information