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SUVs present a significant danger to bicyclists, study says

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Bicyclists who are struck by cars are likely to suffer severe injuries, including head injuries, broken bones and road rash. One study suggests bicyclists sustain worse injuries when struck by specific types of vehicles, particularly SUVs.

The study

The study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, with the aim of gaining more insight into what happens to bicyclists when they are hit by larger vehicles such as SUVs.

The results of the study suggest that bicyclists who were struck by SUVs suffered injuries that were 55% more serious than those of bicyclists who were hit by smaller-sized vehicles. Specifically, the bicyclists studied who were struck by SUVs suffered head injuries that were 63% more serious than their counterparts hit by smaller vehicles.

Researchers believe this is because collisions between bicyclists and SUVs were two times more apt to throw the bicyclist from their bike and onto the ground, meaning the bicyclist suffered two impacts: the impact of the SUV and the impact of the ground.

Moreover, of the vehicles included in the study, SUVs were the only type to completely run bicyclists over, rather than pushing them over the hood of the vehicle. Researchers suspect this is because the size of the SUV makes it more likely that the bicyclist would be hit around their center of gravity, rather than lower on their body.

A motorist’s duty

As this study concludes, bicyclists are simply no match for an automobile weighing thousands of pounds more than them. Only a few lucky bicyclists struck by vehicles walk away with minor scratches. Many bicyclists struck by vehicles are significantly injured.

A bicycle crash can often be attributed to a breach of a motorist’s duty of care. Motorists have a clear duty to drive prudently and with safety in mind.

For example, driving while intoxicated, distracted or fatigued is not driving with due care. This lack of care can cause a motorist to crash into another vehicle, bicyclist or pedestrian. Such crashes are often avoidable but for the recklessness or carelessness of the driver. When a driver’s lack of care causes a bicycle crash, the bicyclist may have grounds to pursue legal action.