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Is riding a bicycle safe on city streets?

Most people would agree that bicycling is a good way to keep fit, but is it safe? That depends.

In 2013, 743 cyclists died in collisions with motor vehicles, just slightly under two people each day in the United States. That year had the most bicyclist fatalities since 2006, as during that year 772 bicyclists died in accidents. It was a marked uptick from only two years before, when there were 682 bicyclist fatalities. These totals represent more than 2 percent of all those who were injured and killed in crashes in 2012.

There were approximately 1,000 fewer bicyclist injuries in 2013 than the 49,000 in 2012. But bicycling injuries have remained fairly static in recent years, with slight variations.

But these statistics were not always steady. They climbed to 68,000 in 1993 before dropping to just 41,000 in 2003 before rising once again. It should be noted that only a small fraction of bicycle collisions resulting in injuries gets reported to the police, however.

Between the decade between 2001 and 2011, there was an 8.9 percent uptick in bicycle injuries. According to the National Safety Council, the costs associated with bike riding deaths and injuries annually exceed $4 billion.

With numbers like that, it is easy to see why a bicyclist who gets hurt in a collision with a car may need to pursue litigation in order to pay their medical bills and other expenses after being injured. While some claims may be settled quickly by the at-fault drivers' insurance companies, many others must be tried on their merits in the civil courts.

Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, "Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Statistics," accessed Dec. 04, 201

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