People in Hawaii ride bicycles to get to and from work, for exercise, or
to simply enjoy a relaxing ride around the island. While bicycling is
an extremely enjoyable activity, it also can be dangerous. According to
the Hawaii Department of Health (HDH), an average of two to three bicyclists
sustain fatal injuries in
bicycle accidents each year.
One of the main dangers bicyclists face is sharing the road with cars,
trucks, and other motor vehicles. When motorists go too fast, are inattentive,
distracted, or disrespectful of bicyclists’ rights, collisions occur,
and serious injuries often result. Unpaved or improperly maintained roads,
weather conditions, and poor visibility can contribute to these types
Some of the most common bicycle accident injuries are lacerations, bruises,
broken bones, back, and neck injuries, as well as severe head trauma.
When helmets are not used, the possibility of sustaining fatal injuries
increases significantly. A HDH report reveals that of the 13 fatal bicycle
accidents occurring between 2008 and 2012, only two bicyclists were wearing
helmets at the time of their death.
Hawaii Bicycle Accident Statistics
Hawaii saw an average of three fatal and nearly 1,300 non-fatal bicycle
accidents per year, between 2008 and 2012. While the number of fatal bicycle
accidents remained relatively level, there was a steady increase in the
number of non-fatal bicycle accidents and injuries.
The majority of bicycle riders who suffered fatal injuries during this
period of time were hit by a car. Others lost their lives from injuries
sustained after falling off their bicycles. Approximately 77 percent of
the 13 bicycle fatalities happened on the island of Oahu.
Close to 85 percent of all bicycle fatalities and 75 percent of all non-fatal
bicycle injuries involved male victims.
The ages of victims of fatal bicycle accidents is widely distributed, with
most victims falling between the ages of 45 and 64. This particular age
group was also second highest among victims of non-fatal bicycle accidents,
with children age 14 years and younger sustaining the highest number of
injuries in bicycle related accidents.
The majority of victims who sustained serious non-fatal bicycle accident
injuries did so as a result of falling off their bicycles. Of the bicycle
accident victims who were hospitalized for their injuries, 16 percent
sustained skull fractures, 20 percent sustained leg fractures, and 37
percent suffered some type of traumatic brain injury.
|Reason for Hospitalization
||Percentage of Victims Hospitalized
|Traumatic Brain Injury
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can happen almost anywhere, at any time. Some of the
most common types of bicycle accidents involve:
- Collisions with cars at intersections
- Accidents at stop signs or red lights
- Failure to yield
- A vehicle turning across the path of a bicyclist
- Collisions on the shoulder of the road
- Bike trail accidents
- Children attempting to do tricks, riding too fast, or losing control
- Riding against the flow of traffic
Hospital reports indicate that an estimated 87 percent of all bicycle injuries
were noted as “non-traffic,” meaning the accidents or injuries
took place on private properties, driveways, or in off road settings (bike
trail, back road paths, etc.).
Honolulu’s Bicycle Laws
Bicycle accidents and injuries are far more common among bicyclists who
are unaware of Honolulu’s bicycle laws. Following the laws, which
have been laid out for the protection of all bicyclists, will dramatically
improve your chances of being able to enjoy your ride without injury.
Safety Tips to Prevent Bicycle Accidents in Hawaii
When bicyclists follow basic bicycle safety tips, they can dramatically
reduce their risk of being involved in a serious or fatal bicycle accident.
The following are some of the most important safety tips for bicycle riders
- Wear a helmet at all times (regardless of your age)
- Follow the rules of the road and obey all traffic signs and signals
- Never ride against the flow of traffic
- Yield to oncoming vehicles and never assume a motorist can see you
- Wear light colored clothing to help make yourself more visible
- When riding at night, wear reflective materials and make sure your bicycle
has proper lights
- Attach a bag or basket if you plan to transport any item
- Ride in designed bicycle lanes or along bike paths
- Ride in pairs or groups, particularly when riding into unfamiliar areas
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident
in Hawaii, it is important you seek legal representation from a skilled
bicycle accident lawyer. Our lawyers are qualified to help you pursue
compensation for your injuries and losses.
Call Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner today to schedule a free consultation and review of your case.