North Carolina’s Bike-Friendly Status & Bicycle Accident Risks in Asheville and Elsewhere

According to a recent release from the League of American Bicyclists, the state of North Carolina ranked 24th among Bicycle Friendly States in 2012. In 2011, our state ranked 38th place. The summer riding season brings with it an increased risk of bicycle accidents in Asheville and elsewhere.

Our statewide cycling improvements have helped improve our rankings. Still, new government statistics show far too many riders are injured or killed each year in bicycle accidents in North Carolina and throughout the United States.

There were more than 50,000 people who were injured in bicycle accidents in 2010, according to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Throughout the entire year, nearly 620 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle-related accidents. These fatalities accounted for about 2 percent of the total number of traffic fatalities for the year.

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In the study, each state is ranked based on a number of factors, including its enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws, its encouragement of programs that promote cycling as well as its infrastructure and funding for bicycle facilities.

Our Asheville bicycle accident attorneys understand that the state has made some significant strides in working to promote and protect our bicyclists. There’s still a long way to go however. In the recent report from the League of American Bicyclists, our state was recognized for our Pedestrian and Bicycle Access to Bus Transit project. This project has been noted as “an excellent example of how to address safety across the transportation system.”

The North Carolina Department of Transportation‘s (NCDOT) Bicycle and Pedestrian Division has joined efforts with the Public Transportation Division to work on the new initiative. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Access to Bus Transit project is being used to assist pedestrian and bicyclist accessibility, safety and connectivity near bus stops in the area.

That’s not the only initiative that officials are using to help to make the area safer for bicyclists. Officials have also been working on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Survey and Summit in addition to the North Carolina Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan. Through this plan, officials are looking to quantify the health and economic impacts of pedestrian and bicycle investments. They’re also looking at figuring out ways to improve accessibility and health in addition to looking at how various policies are able to encourage walking and biking. Another of the program’s aims is figuring out which regions could use an installation and could use an updating to the current 3,000 miles in bike routes throughout the state.

In working to improve these plans, officials will be calling on the public for assistance in addition to working with a number of state agencies and non-governmental entities that specialize in this type of work.

Although our rank may have improved over the last year, we’re still calling on assistance from drivers throughout the state to help to make our roadways even safer for our two-wheeled friends. With safe and responsible driving habits, we can all do our part to help to preserve roadway safety. This is especially important throughout the summer travel season, when vehicle traffic typically increases and bicyclists are on the open road in full force.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident in Asheville or in any of the surrounding areas, contact the Carolina injury attorneys here at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP to set up a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You’ve Been Paid.

More Blog Entries:

Young Bicyclists, Scooter Riders and Pedestrians at Serious Risks for Accidents in the Carolinas and Elsewhere, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 14, 2012

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