Clarion County is home to beautiful bicycle trails including those located throughout the Allegheny National Forest. Thanks to the wealth of great local trails, people come from all over the state for weekend bicycle adventures in Clarion County. No one can deny that bicycling is becoming more and more popular here and throughout Pennsylvania, especially now that electric bicycles are legal in Pennsylvania. Our bike accident attorneys predict that the number of bicycle accidents will rise as a result of the continually increasing interest in cycling.
Pedal cycles with electric assist, commonly referred to as electric bicycles or e-bikes, are legal in Pennsylvania. Bicycles with a motor of fewer than 750 watts and maximum speeds of 20mph are considered electric bicycles (vs. scooters) in our state and they may be operated on Pennsylvania roads just like regular bicycles. Thanks to e-bikes, more and more people are leaving their cars in the garage and bicycling to work, especially people whose longer commutes with difficult hills to climb prevented them from biking to work before e-bikes came on the scene.
Pennsylvania bicycle accident statistics
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, bicycle accidents decreased in 2017 to 1,141 accidents which were the lowest number of bicycle accidents in the state over a course of five years. On the other hand, 2017 was the deadliest year for bicycle accident fatalities compared to the same five years with 21 fatalities. The Pennsylvania DOT noted in its 2017 crash study that children ages 5 – 14 were a vulnerable group of bicyclists representing 5 of the fatalities and 240 injuries sustained in bicycle accidents.
Bicycle accident injuries
Bicycle accident injuries can be devastating and there are regularly over 1,000 bicycle accident injuries reported in the state of Pennsylvania each year. Even when bicyclists wear helmets, they still frequently sustain severe injuries such as broken and shattered bones, traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, paralysis, and road rash. Bicycle accident injuries can lead to a long road to recovery for injured victims and their families and when injuries are debilitating, these injuries become more about coping and adapting to a new way of life for those injured and their family members.
Bicycle accident fault
In Pennsylvania, bicyclists generally have the same rights and rules on the road than automobiles do, but unfortunately, automobile drivers sometimes operate like their rights are superior to bicyclists’ rights and this attitude often leads to bicycle accidents. Aggressive drivers will follow bicycles too closely, pass bicycles when it is unsafe to do so, and turn in front of bicyclists who have the right of way. Other accident causes include parked car occupants opening their doors into the path of a passing bicyclist or failing to see bicyclists in blind spots and making unsafe lane changes.