02

Blog

Bicycle Crashes are Not “Accidents.”

We've used the word "accident" on our site for years. As of today, that changes.

The crash that sent our webmaster and blogger Mike Dayton to the ICU (still in critical condition) and that injured three others has garnered much attention around the country.  We have reported on his condition, and the weak charges filed against the reckless driver.

Thanks to so many for your kind words and thoughts to Mike.  We have received thousands of messages of support and concern. It is a comfort to be reminded of the power of community.  Cyclists are the best.

The attention prompted an overdue, critical look at our site, the words we actually use, and the message we send.

We have long argued that bicycle crashes are not “accidents.”  North Carolina attorney Ann Groninger (who proudly represents Mike) has made the point on these pages.   Lawyers in our Network have represented injured cyclists in thousands of cases.  We know, first hand, that our clients are rarely injured “accidentally.”  On the contrary, in the overwhelming number of occurrences, a driver made a choice (or failed to make a choice), and that choice caused injuries, often life-changing, sometimes fatal.

Let me / Peter get personal.  My brother, Jim, was killed on his bicycle by an underaged driver running a red light.  It was no accident, because 10 minutes before, the driver’s mother decided to give her unlicensed daughter the keys to drive to school.

Likewise, we know that the crash that has left Mike in such dire condition was no accident.

Same is true in so many of our other cases: read about Matthew Burke, Patrick Wanninkhof, and Dale Thomas, just to name three.

And yet, as was pointed out by a few of you out there, we still clung to the word “accident” on the Bike Law site.  Most noticeably, we titled a box on each page: “Report a Bicycle Accident.”  We appreciate that you guys care enough our mission to point out our inconsistency.

Yes, we used the word “accident” on every page of our site.  We did so on purpose.  We did so in order to be more visible to Google.  In the current state of legal marketing, lots of personal injury lawyers (most with no track record in cycling or cycling advocacy) are flooding the internet, trying to attract injured cyclists.  Because “accident” is by far the most searched relevant term, because “bicycle accident” is what is used by the general public, we used it too.  We want to be visible, and we want to represent injured cyclists, regardless of whether they know or understand the distinction in word usage.

But as of today, we are changing.  It is no longer ‘Report a Bicycle Accident.”  It is “Report a Bicycle Crash.”  And we will be making similar changes across the site in coming days.  We want to be true to you guys, true to our mission, and be a part of changing how bicycle crashes are viewed and understood.

We realize that the distinction does make a difference.

It is worth quibbling over semantics.

A BICYCLE CRASH IS NOT AN ACCIDENT.

PERIOD.

Comments

Toronto Youth Biking Death
Pat Brown May 25, 2017

How many tragedies do we need in Toronto before we invest in keeping Vulnerable Road Users safe?

Read More
Cycling Law Podcast
Arleigh Jenkins May 23, 2017

Ann Groninger of Bike Law NC & Jeff Viscount of Weekly Rides have become regulars on the TotalCyclist Podcast. Click through to give a listen to their episodes!

Read More
biking on highway laws in texas
Arleigh Jenkins May 17, 2017

Charlie answers a frequently asked question whether one may legally ride a bicycle on highway Interstate 10 and other freeways in Texas.

Read More
2017 Ride of Silence
Arleigh Jenkins May 15, 2017

A guest post from Chris Phelan, founder of Ride for Silence. This ride can be found in 450+ cities across the world on May 17th to honor those who have been injured or killed, to raise awareness that we are here and to ask that we all share the road.

Read More
Charlotte Law Enforcement Bicycle Ride to DC
Ann Groninger May 10, 2017

Yesterday, Bike Law Cycle Club members Julia Engle and Garet Johnson joined the first leg of CMPD’s Annual Law Enforcement Bicycle Ride to Washington D.C.

Read More
Maine Traffic Safety Education Bill
Lauri Boxer-Macomber May 03, 2017

In Maine, proposed legislation on traffic safety education in schools for students in grades 2-12 could have tremendous long-term effects on making Maine’s roads safer.

Read More
NY Five Boro Bike Ride
Daniel Flanzig May 03, 2017

Bike Law New York is entering its 4th year of supporting the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, the world’s largest charity ride with over 32,000 riders. Riding? Stop by to say hello.

Read More
Michigan Needs Better Cycling Laws
Bryan Waldman May 02, 2017

I am outraged when I see motorists that kill bicyclists charged with only minor crimes. It is time we stopped looking to blame others for this lack of accountability and look for solutions.

Read More
2017 BIKE! Charlotte Mayor's Ride
Ann Groninger Apr 28, 2017

A celebrated annual event in Charlotte is the Mayor’s Ride that kicks off a week of bicycling events around Charlotte, NC. This morning Bike Law North Carolina helped kick off the ride in style.

Read More
Atlanta Highway Collapse Help Bicycle Commuting
Bruce Hagen Apr 26, 2017

The recent Atlanta highway collapse emphasizes the need for public transit and increases the likely hood you’ll encounter distracted drivers on your bike rides.

Read More
2017 Bike LUCK Ride
Ann Groninger Apr 19, 2017

4 years ago, Julia Engel founded Bike LUCK, a charity road event in Charlotte, to raise money for a 501c3 non-profit, Camp LUCK. Learn more about Camp LUCK and join the ride April 29th!

Read More
Share the Road Sign
Kurt Holzer Apr 17, 2017

Most road fatalities are preventable. Read our 20 tips on how drivers and bicyclists can share the road safely to prevent road fatalities and injuries.

Read More
Load More