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 of accidents.
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 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.
Bicycle accidents can happen almost anywhere, at any time. Some of the most common types of bicycle accidents involve:
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.).
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.
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 in Hawaii:
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.