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Bicyclists not protected by crash prevention technology

Bicycles are cost-effective modes of transportation for countless people in South Dakota. Whether traveling to work, school or for pleasure, riding a bike can be a fun, healthy way to get somewhere.

Unfortunately, they can also be dangerous. Despite laws that protect bicyclists' rights to share the road, many drivers of larger motor vehicles fail to leave enough room or pay attention to people on bicycles, which can lead to deadly results.

Hundreds of cyclists die every year

Between 2008 and 2012, approximately 3,300 bicyclists died in vehicle collisions. Of those deaths, 74 percent were the result of cars striking bicycles with their front bumper. Researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety determined that the most common type of front bumper accident involved cars rear-ending bicyclists.

However, when considering any type of accident configuration — including side-strikes — the most common crash configuration is that of a car striking a bicycle as it moves across its path. These crashes are also likely to cause fatal injuries for cyclists and cause 22 percent of all bicycle accident deaths.

Crash prevention overlooks bicycles

Crash prevention technology has made significant strides over recent years. Many cars now come equipped with technology that detects potential collisions or objects behind vehicles when in reverse. Although this tech is helpful for stopping accidents between motor vehicles, it often misses some of the most vulnerable on the road.

Even as cities try to improve their infrastructure and provide better security for cyclists, a resurgence in biking has an undeniable impact on the increased number of fatalities. Many now advocate for improved crash prevention technology as other safety measures fall short.

Bicycle crash injuries may be severe

Bicycle accident deaths have increased over recent years, increasing from 621 in 2010 to 741 in 2013. Although renewed crash prevention technology could potentially lower that number, nothing can truly erase the impact of a negligent driver who, unlike a bicyclist, has the added protection of a motor vehicle.

With less added protection, bicyclists often suffer severe injuries that require lengthy and ongoing medical care. This can impact every aspect of life, from missed work to mental anguish. Personal injury claims are usually the most effective course of action for South Dakota bicyclists who are injured by a reckless driver.

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