Riding a bicycle on a sunny fall day is one of the pleasures of living in Michigan….until the unexpected happens. While any crash can be dangerous, the outcome can be disastrous when a cyclist is hit by a car. During 2020, the number of people killed in Michigan bicycle accidents increased by a shocking 81%. What’s more, this fatal surge occurred in a year when fewer vehicles were on the road as a result of the pandemic. Here’s a closer look at some of the reasons behind these grim statistics.
One of the unexpected consequences of the pandemic was the rise in fatal traffic accidents during 2020. With 18% fewer vehicles on the road during most of the year, it was reasonable to expect fatal crashes to decline accordingly. However, this was not what happened, despite a 22% decrease in motor vehicle accidents, from 314,377 in 2019 to 245,432 in 2020. Nonetheless, traffic deaths increased by 10%, from 985 in 2019 to 1,083 in 2020. Therefore, while the total number of crashes decreased, the number of fatal crashes rose 12%, from 902 in 2019 to 1,010 in 2020.
In fact, more people were killed on Michigan roads in 2020 than in any year since 2007.
On a positive note, fewer people were seriously injured in automobile accidents last year. In 2019, 80,692 people were injured, compared to 66,419 in 2020, a decrease of 22%.
Unfortunately, the rise in fatal bicycle, pedestrian and motorcycle accidents in 2020 followed the same deadly trend as motor vehicle crashes.
Bicyclists were hit the hardest. While bicycle accidents decreased by 18% in 2020, the number of bicyclists killed increased by 81%, from 21 in 2019 to 38 in 2020.
Motorcycle accidents rose 10%, from 2,723 in 2019 to 2,988 in 2020 while fatalities increased 25%, from 122 in 2019 to 152 motorcyclists in 2020. In addition, 175 pedestrians died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, a 17% increase from 2019, when 149 pedestrians were killed.
Recommended reading: New Michigan Cycling Laws Make Roads Safer for Bicyclists
According to data from Michigan State Police, alcohol, drugs and cell phones played a role in many of the fatal accidents that occurred during 2020.
Alcohol played a role in approximately 30% of the crashes where 326 people were killed. This was an increase of 11% from 2019, when 295 people died in alcohol-related crashes.
In addition, 267 people died in drug-related accidents in 2020 compared to 237 in 2019, an increase of 13%.
Furthermore, 20 people died in accidents involving cell phones, an increase of 33% over the 15 deaths attributed to cell phones in 2019. Additionally, because distracted driving is often omitted on accident reports, law enforcement officials believe the actual number of cell phone-related crashes is much higher than statistics reflect.
If you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle accident, we can help. Our knowledgeable legal team knows what it takes to win your case, and we have the expertise and resources to make sure you receive the compensation you and your family deserve.
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