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San Jose Bicycle-Train Collision Spotlights Bicycle Safety

Monday, October 03, 2016By Richard Alexander
Bicyclists are in more than their fair share of accidents. Although bicycles are used for only one percent of trips, bicyclists account for two percent of traffic fatalities and injuries. Bicyclists are at risk of serious injuries from drivers who fail to see them or to drive responsibly around them. In our area, bicyclists have yet another worry: the possibility of serious injury or even death due to collisions with trains.


This summer, a bicyclist was killed in San Jose when his bike was hit by a train. Although the rider made it to the hospital for treatment, he died within hours of the collision.

Injuries to bicyclists can be particularly serious because of the lack of protection around riders. Just as a passenger vehicle has no chance in a crash with a tractor-trailer, a bicyclist has no chance when hit by a car or a train. The differences in size, speed, and protective equipment are just too great. In fact, in 2014, 726 bicyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents with motor vehicles.

Most bicycle fatalities result from severe head injuries. This is why wearing a helmet is so important. No other piece of personal protective equipment has helped to reduce the number of catastrophic injuries and fatalities more than a simple helmet.

But there is much more that we can do as a society to reduce serious traffic accidents involving bicycles.

Drivers must be aware of the presence of bicyclists on the road. Bicyclists are users of the road just like drivers of passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Indeed, the federal government promotes and funds state initiatives to increase bicycling as an alternate mode of travel. This includes bike lanes on various highways.

Before pulling out of a driveway or side street and before rolling through a stop sign or intersection, drivers must keenly scan the area for bicyclists. Drivers must also ensure they are not traveling too fast to respond to the movement or presence of a bicyclist.

Obviously, bicyclists may also take several steps to help improve their safety:
• Follow all traffic laws, including those relating to signaling when turning, stopping at stop signs and traffic signals, and not driving when impaired.
• Always ride with traffic.
• Ride predictably and do not turn or swerve into traffic.
• Always wear a proper helmet.
• Be vigilant when riding in traffic or near trains.
• Use designated bike lanes when they are present.

Bicyclists are particularly vulnerable in traffic. Fortunately, there is much more we can do to incorporate this eco-friendly mode of travel into our society. Resolve to take action today to help reduce catastrophic injuries and deaths to bicyclists who share the road.If you or somebody you love has been injured in a serious bicycling traffic accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP at 888.777.1776 for a free case consultation. Drivers who irresponsibly endanger others should be held accountable for their actions.


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