When someone talks about holiday traffic and safety in California, they often focus on “the” holidays in November and December, but for bicyclists and pedestrians, the summer holidays like The 4th of July and Labor Day can be quite hazardous, possibly more so than the holidays at the end of the year because there is more cycling and walking to do in the summer when it’s so beautiful outside! We want to share three important things you should look out for this summer we’ve learned as bicycle accident attorneys working in San Francisco and Paso Robles where the summer is a great time to get outside and ride.
One: Summer Tourists Don’t Expect You
We do a lot as bicycle accident attorneys to advocate in San Francisco and San Luis Obispo County for safer conditions for cyclists. Some areas are beginning to have better lane markings and even separated bike lanes, which is great! But despite better conditions where available, at any time a tourist is unfamiliar with the road in a new place and doesn’t know to expect a bike lane or a bicyclist. They don’t know the road they are on is a local favorite for riding. They also may not have their eyes fully on the road as they look for their next turn, or at the beautiful scenery. Summer is here and so are the tourists. As a bicyclist or pedestrian, we must all be paying attention to the traffic around us at all times (and remember – we are all pedestrians at some point during our day!).
How much should we be paying attention? Not just to one car here are there, but to all of them! The San Francisco Travel Association said 25.5 million people visited San Francisco City in 2017. Not all tourists come with a car or rent one, but many do. And if you live or have been to San Francisco, you know there are many narrow and one-way streets to pay attention to. The 13% of roads in San Francisco where 75% of collisions with pedestrians are occurring are located in areas where tourists want to be (see the map and click on it to see the live version) bringing up concerns for pedestrians and bicyclists now that summer is here and has brought with it an influx of heavy tourism. This is not to say that tourism is bad – tourism is a good thing for local economies. But as bicycle accident attorneys we know first-hand the hazards cyclists face.
Two: Summer DUIs are Rising
A lot of bicycle accidents are caused by vehicle drivers who are under the influence. In California, DUIs are rising. Drivers in collisions resulting in a fatality who were impaired by drugs or alcohol rose from 26.2% to 42.6% between 2005 and 2015 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). In San Luis Obispo, bicycle collisions have been decreasing (down 11% from 2015 to 2016), but DUIs have been increasing and in August of 2017, a cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run collision. The alleged driver was 17-years-old and intoxicated. California State as a whole appears to have seen a decrease in annual DUIs, depending on which report you read; however, holiday DUIs always show a spike which is why we want to remind pedestrians and cyclists to be careful during the summer and especially during the holidays. The 4th of July holiday is the deadliest holiday due to collisions with the most fatalities over any other time period during the year (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). As the Thanksgiving holiday has the most traffic, alcohol and drugs have to be questioned with the 4th of July. DUI-related collisions can happen at any time, but statistically are more likely to be fatal starting after 8:00pm, peaking between midnight and 3:00am (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Remember to add extra lights to your bicycle if you plan to ride at night to give yourself as much visibility as possible. While tourists can possibly be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as they’ve been out partying, the locals can be to blame on this one, too. This is why we suggest keeping the phone number of a good bicycle accident attorney in your phone (hey – like us!), just in case something happens and you are unsure of what to do next.
Three: New Drivers and Teens on Summer Break
If you are the parent of a new driver, you may have heard of the “100 Deadliest Days,” but if you’re a cyclist or pedestrian and haven’t heard this term, you need to know about this. The 100 deadliest days for teen drivers fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day as these are the days when the most fatalities involving collisions and teen drivers occur. In 2016, there were about 10 people killed per day by a teen driver in this window, which was a 14% increase from 2015 (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety). Of these 100 days, there are 10 considered the most deadly (9 falling between May and August) and are believed to be so dangerous due to teenage drinking. With or without substance abuse, new drivers are out in full force during the summer. The risk for them is highest at night (considered after 9:00pm by AAA) and/or if they are speeding. If you have a new driver, be sure to talk to them about the added risks of substance abuse, speeding, and reduced visibility. If you are a cyclist or pedestrian, be extra alert during these summer months.
Need a Bicycle Accident Attorney?
We want you to be safe and have fun this summer, but if things don’t go as planned and you think you might need a bicycle accident attorney in San Francisco or Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo, give us a call! We are happy to provide you with a free consultation. We also have two helpful free downloads you might want to save now for future use to keep in your phone, glovebox, or bike-bag:
THE PROPERTY DAMAGE DEMAND TOOLKIT: How to get the Insurance Company to Pay you for your Damaged Bike After a Crash
Download the free toolkit here:
What to Do After a Vehicle Collision
Download the free guide here: