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

Lauri Boxer-Macomber Feb 15, 2019

Are kindergarteners our best hope for ending distracted driving? Are teens more likely to be receptive to lessons about bicycle and pedestrian safety delivered by their teachers, mentors, and peers than their parents? Are schools the place to start making our roads safer?   Visionary lawmakers from across the State of Maine are not only […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Feb 07, 2019

In 2016, Dr. Carol Eckert was struck by a driver while she was riding her bicycle on a rural Maine roadway.   According to media accounts of the crash, the driver who struck her with his truck claimed he did not see her and was blinded by the sun.  Dr. Eckert died three days later, but the […]

Read More
Ann Groninger Jan 16, 2019

There is nothing good about losing a beloved husband, father and member of the community. Eugene (Gene) Rotberg will never be replaced; everyone who knew him has a hole in his or her heart because of Gene’s absence. Of course, the loss to his wife, two grown children and grandchildren is immeasurable. But sometimes new […]

Read More
Bryan Waldman Jan 04, 2019

To put it mildly, legislation to make Michigan a better and safer place for bicyclists has never been a priority for Michigan lawmakers. Those who have worked to advance bicycle laws have proposed common sense legislation for years. While a minority of state lawmakers seemed sympathetic to our cause, they were frank in telling us […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Nov 28, 2018

I asked my 7 year old son, Will, to draw me a picture of each of these things: life with cars; life with electric cars; life with autonomous cars; they all looked the same. But the fourth picture- life in a modern, forward thinking, and environmentally, economically, and socially responsible place- looked very different. Even […]

Read More
Matt Johnson Nov 06, 2018

We were somewhere around Denison on the edge of the corn fields when the Eurostyle Chamois Butter began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded, maybe we should stop at a watering station…” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us, and the road was full of […]

Read More
Peter Wilborn Oct 02, 2018

October is a big month in the triathlon world, with the Kona Ironman World Championships on the 13th. So it is good news that Triathlete Magazine chose its October issue to focus on bicycle safety and advocacy. Bike Law Director (and our resident triathlete) Rachael Maney was featured and interviewed in the piece. She shared […]

Read More
Peter Wilborn Sep 28, 2018

Chicago has become one of the nation’s top cycling cities, but along with more has come an increase in dooring crashes. A Chicago news channel has covered the issue and interviewed attorney Brendan Kevenides, Bike Law’s legal resource in Illinois. Brendan explained the growing risk to cyclists and how the “Dutch Reach” can help.  The […]

Read More
Amy Benner Johnson Sep 21, 2018

Drivers are coming within less than 1.5 feet of cyclists on the road in Knoxville with alarming regularity. Drivers are coming within less than two feet of cyclists on the road in Knoxville with alarming regularity. It’s not your imagination. It’s not all in your head. Your combined senses of touch, sound, and sight all […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Sep 12, 2018

You may have already seen the video below. If you haven’t, please watch. On Tuesday, August 24th just before 7PM, Jeff McCord and approximately 20 other cyclists were stopped at the intersection of Karl Daly and Grants Mill Road in Irondale, Alabama, a town outside the city of Birmingham. As McCord waited for an ambulance […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Aug 30, 2018

In 2010, Richmond, California got lucky when Brooklyn born Najari Smith planted roots in the Bay Area city, quickly claiming a very important role in his new community. Having given more than 1,100 bikes to Richmond’s youth and community members in the last 6 years, Najari’s vision and mission to promote a bike-centric lifestyle has […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Jul 17, 2018

On July 11, 2018, a very experienced rider and friend to many in the Rockdale County area, Albert “Ab” Roesel, was killed while out on a rural road doing a ride that he no doubt had done many times before.  Ab was 75 years old.   The police investigation concluded that Ab had been headed Southbound, […]

Read More
Load More