While a few bicyclists travel year-round on Connecticut roads, those numbers will jump as the warmer summer weather arrives. That means a lot more bicyclists will be seen on the roads, riding to work, exercising or pedaling for sheer enjoyment.
Along with the greater number of bicyclists comes the greater chances that many of them will sustain serious or fatal injuries on state roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 850 cyclists died on U.S. roads and 49,000 sustained injuries in 2019. Of those fatalities, three occurred in Connecticut. Using that national ratio of deaths to injuries, it is likely that crashes injured more than 170 bicyclists in the Constitution State that year.
Hit and runs, speeders
Typically, bicyclists sustain injuries in two types of crashes. Falls are the most common but being struck by motor vehicles is the most serious. Many of these crashes lead to deaths.
In a five-year review of bicyclist deaths from 2015 through 2019, the NHTSA determined that drivers who ignored traffic and safety laws caused nearly half of the fatalities. Here is a breakdown:
- Hit-and-runs (20%)
- Drunk driving (16%)
- Speeding (9%)
Because of such scenarios, it is crucial for bicyclists to remain focused and alert. Stay visible and do not assume that a driver can see you. Keep your eyes moving and be aware of your surroundings.
This will help you spot potential hazards. The list may include potholes and gravel, speeding, erratic and distracted drivers as well as drivers who fail to give you room on the road. Drivers in Connecticut must provide three feet of space when passing a cyclist.
Awareness is crucial
Bicycling has grown in popularity in the past 50 years and continues to see gains among Connecticut residents. This fact stresses the importance of why drivers and bicyclists must remain aware of each other.