Statistics show drivers need to do a better job of sharing the road.
The fatal bicycle accident rate in New Orleans greatly outpaces that of every other major U.S. city and the nation as a whole, according to a new five-year analysis of traffic accidents. The national average is 2.7 fatal bicycle accidents per 1 million residents.
But in New Orleans, on average, there were 9.9 bicyclist deaths per 1 million residents over the last five years. The rate demonstrates an 11% increase in fatal crashes compared to the period of 2012-2016. Recent bicycle accidents in and around New Orleans include:
- In June, a bicyclist was killed in Marigny when an allegedly speeding driver hit the cyclist on St. Claude Avenue.
- Earlier that month, a cyclist was killed after being hit by a truck at the Lafitte Greenway crosswalk.
- In late May, a cyclist was killed in an accident in the Treme.
- A little over one year ago, a driver struck and killed a man on the I-10 service road in New Orleans East.
Everyone has a right to use the road. Unfortunately, riding a bicycle in New Orleans can be very risky when other drivers are negligent.
Common causes of bicycle accidents in NOLA
In 2021, drivers hit and killed seven bicycle riders in New Orleans, but it wasn't so long ago - in 2017 - that only one cyclist was killed in city traffic accidents. Addressing the most common factors through improved infrastructure, stricter enforcement, public awareness, and driver education can reduce the risk of bicycle accidents and create safer road environments. Here are some of the most common causes and factors in New Orleans cyclist accidents:
- Distracted driving. With the widespread use of smartphones, texting and other forms of distraction pose a serious risk as drivers take their focus from the road, compromising their ability to notice and react to cyclists.
- Vehicle height. Larger vehicles, like trucks and SUVs, continue to grow in popularity. Compared to a standard four-door car, this type of vehicle creates blind spots that make it challenging for drivers to see cyclists, increasing the risk of accidents when changing lanes or making turns.
- Speeding. Excessive speed reduces driver reaction time, making it harder to avoid collisions with cyclists and leading to more severe injuries.
- Infrastructure design and maintenance. Inadequate or easy-to-ignore bike lanes, poorly marked intersections, and uneven road surfaces are hazardous for cyclists. When there is not enough separation between cyclists and vehicles, the risk of accidents increases.
- Lack of crosswalks. The absence or improper placement of crosswalks forces cyclists to navigate busy traffic areas with little protection, increasing vulnerability to accidents.
- Nighttime, poorly lit areas: Limited visibility during night and in poorly lit areas may make it harder for drivers to spot cyclists, increasing the likelihood of collisions.
- Ineffective solutions. Some implemented solutions, such as poorly designed bike lanes or inadequate signage, fail to effectively mitigate risks, requiring comprehensive planning and consideration of cyclist safety.
Under Louisiana state law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. Although some motorists act like they own the road, in many cases - like dooring incidents, falling asleep at the wheel, and blind turns - the driver is at fault.
Bicycle accident claims can be complex
Insurance companies often employ strategies to limit or deny compensation for bicycle accident claims. They may argue that the cyclist was at fault for the accident, either partially or entirely, by not following traffic rules or biking in a dangerous manner. They may also dispute the severity or causation of the injuries, suggesting they were pre-existing conditions or resulted from another incident. Lastly, they might attempt to offer a quick, lowball settlement before the victim realizes the full value of their claim.
Contact The Law Offices of John S. Williams, LLC
An experienced bicycle accident lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your claim. At The Law Offices of John S. Williams, LLC, we understand insurance company tactics and can effectively counter them, ensuring that your rights are protected. Our legal team can also accurately assess the value of your claim, taking into consideration all your losses (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, future needs) and advocating for the compensation you deserve.
If you were hit by a car while riding a bicycle or your loved one died in a fatal bicycle accident, we can help you demand justice and accountability. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation.