Tucson: A “Hotspot” for Bicycle Accidents?

Statistically, it seems that in Tucson bicycle accidents may be more common than some residents would have supposed. And, some neighborhoods may be especially dangerous for unwary bicyclists. Still, there is plenty of hope for riders who are vigilant – A review of the typical accident-patterns seen on a web site which tracks the statistics regarding bicycle accidents in Tucson shows that a fair number of crashes involving bikes and motor vehicles could be avoided by alert bicyclists.

It goes without saying that bicyclists, on average, are involved in a larger number of crashes than drivers of cars and trucks. This is due to factors such as the relatively-unprotected nature of bicycle transportation, in which the rider’s only protection is usually a helmet. Lack of visibility is also a major factor in bike accidents, since motor-vehicle operators often fail to spot bicycles. And, many motorists have difficulty in judging the speed and distance of bikes because their profile is much narrower.

Statistics, and types of accidents

For statistical purposes, most Tucson bike crashes can be classified into one of four types:  The right-turn vehicle versus wrong-way bicyclist, the crosswalk-intersection crash, the left hook, and the right hook.

Right-turn vehicle vs. wrong-way cyclist

Seen in nearly 25% of bicycle crashes in Tucson during the past five years, this type of accident results when a bike rider is traveling in the wrong direction, against the normal direction of motor vehicle traffic flow, either on the street or bike lane, or perhaps on the sidewalk, and the motor vehicle driver makes a right turn, often from a side street or driveway. In most cases, the driver’s attention is focused on the left side of his or her vehicle, watching for approaching traffic. The cyclist is then struck by the right-turning motorist.

Crosswalk-intersection crashes

Nearly 17% of Tucson bicycle accidents happen in an intersection or crosswalk; both rider and motorist may be distracted by pedestrians and other traffic, and the inattention may result in a crash. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know which party was distracted, but the outcomes are almost always worse for the rider than the driver.

This is typically a “T-bone” collision, and the level of injury and damage depends on the speed at which either party is travelling at the moment of impact. Cyclists can weigh the odds in their favor by slowing or stopping at intersections, and watching carefully for both motor vehicles and pedestrians alike.

The left hook and the right hook

Almost 30% of Tucson cycling accidents may be classified as a left hook or right hook, in which the bike rider is struck by a turning driver. In a left hook, the motorist impacts the rider in a nearly-head-on direction while the vehicle is turning left, whereas in a right hook the vehicle impacts a cycle which is approaching from the rear, by “pinching” the rider against the curb or another vehicle or obstacle while the driver is turning right. In both scenarios the driver is more likely to be at fault than the bicycle rider, according to the statistics.

And, a careful review of Tucson bicycle accidents from the past few years also reveals that there have historically been a high incidence of crashes within a two-tenths-of-a-mile radius of the intersection of Congress Street and 6th Avenue. It seems that this area is home to a relatively large number of cyclists, and of course this neighborhood also bears heavy motor-vehicle traffic as well.

Most importantly, if you or someone you love has suffered a cycling accident in Tucson or anywhere in Pima County, you should contact the experienced bicycle accident lawyers at Bob Barber Law. As Tucson’s best known bicycle-riding attorney, Bob Barber can help protect your rights and fight to obtain the financial relief that you and your family deserve. Call Bob Barber at 520-293-4440 today.