This past July a 31-year old woman was tragically killed in a bicycle accident when a left-turning vehicle struck her during her commute. Sher Kung, a new mother and hard-working attorney, had her bicycle accident and lost her life in a designated bike lane, known locally as the Lane of Death, at a dangerous intersection less than two weeks before said lane was to be fixed for improved safety.
The truck driver was seen weeping, claiming that he never saw Ms. Sher Kung. Cyclists memorialized the site of the bicycle accident with two white-painted bikes placed near the intersection. What struck the coldest chord in most people’s hearts was the fact that she was traveling in the bike lane, wearing her helmet—simply doing everything correctly.
The bicycle accident is just another that proves that no matter how many safety precautions a cyclist may take they are always at risk of a deadly mishap on the road.
Cities are making the change to accommodate and reduce the chance of a bicycle accident for this new variety of urban commuter. Between 2000 and 2011, bicycle commuting has grown 47% overall in the United States. This is unsurprising given all the incentives revolving around this mode of transportation: the opportunity to be outdoors, the opportunity to exercise and improve one’s health, and the opportunity to save on gas to name just a few. Companies (like Citi Bank) and institutions (like the University of Missouri) make this phenomenon even easier to get into—offering affordable subscription based bike-rental models if one wants to avoid the large initial investment of a personal bike. Even St. Louis has a plan to implement a bike-sharing program in the near future.
But with this insurgence of bicycle riders comes the increased frequency of the dangers of a bicycle accident. Automobile drivers are forced to share the roads with more bike riders. Many bike lanes, which are meant to keep cyclists off of the main roads, can be dangerously occupied and blocked by parked vehicles, which thrust the riders back into the dangerous motorized vehicles’ ways and raise the risk of a bicycle accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that bicycle accident deaths in the United States were up 6.5% in 2012: 726 deaths compared to the 682 in 2011. Large cases that feature a bicycle accident are happening locally too, making headlines this past July when the mayor of Sunset Hills, Mark Furrer, allegedly ran a cyclist off the street after repeatedly yelling “Get off of my road.”
Which leads us to the real root of the danger of the dreaded bicycle accident: drivers. Cyclists have to remember that they are exposed flesh and bone sharing roads with thousand-pound-plus boxes of motorized metal. Awareness is a must for those commuting by bike; and, if the two commuters had a less hostile attitude with one another—cyclists not deeming all drivers as irresponsible and reckless idiots, and drivers not deeming all cyclists self-righteous jerks—then we could decrease the number of these tragedies and hopefully see less dismal cases like Ms Sher Kung’s bicycle accident.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a bicycle accident due to a driver’s negligence, call Kullmann, Klein & Dioneda today to discuss your legal rights. You can also contact us using our convenient online form.