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The number of bikers is up. So an increase in fatalities should be expected. However, it's a safe bet that the number wouldn't be as high as it is if bikers obeyed ALL traffic laws. Unfortunately, far too many bikers pick and choose what they want to obey. And they tend to blame motorists whenever accidents occur. Obey the laws or pay the consequences.
It would make sense that fatalities are up since ridership is up. I would encourage everyone to get out and ride but to do it safely. Which means not going to the middle of a busy four lane road during rush hour and expecting everyone is going to see you.
rang and acc, I agree completely. I ride bikes, walk run and drive almost everyday but I see far more pedestrians jaywalking and motorists speeding, not signaling, blowing stop signs and red lights etc etc than I ever do cyclists breaking laws, it's just people here are immune to it, cars are everywhere and they are the "norm" whereas bikes are not and there are so many less of them on the roads it reinforces this bias. It has been proven people in cars relate emotionally with pedestrians and not with cyclists, they see bikes as competition with less rights to the roads we all pay for and share and thus are far more aggressive. I'm not excusing cyclists who blow stop signs, etc I scream at them all the time believe me, it's just that we all need to obey the laws, that means everyone.
This story seems to have more questions than answers. It doesn't factor for increases in use of each vehicle, and because of that, one could draw completely contradictory conclusions from the small amount of data presented. I'm sure that the motorcycle deaths were also a result of the increase in usage as gas prices increase.
As for bicyclists, I think the increases in the miles of bike lanes available will definitely (and already has) reduced biking fatalities. As for biking in the middle of the lane, I think most of those bikers are doing so because there aren't enough bike lanes nearby.
Since bikes want to be considered vehicles on the highway, perhaps some standards are in order. My biggest concern is the lack of visibility. If they want to operate on the roads we need to have some minimum lighting requirements. The biggest is to have an effective taillight. Nothing worse than coming upon a bike in the darkness, the little reflectors give very poor warning.
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