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

SELMA BIKE RIDE
Danny Feldman Jul 24, 2020

This year, before COVID, over 600 bike riders from over 25 states retraced the steps of the Civil Rights Marchers from Selma to Montgomery. The event was about much more than just riding a bike, as participants toured historic sights and were led by civil rights leaders and historians.  The annual ride is an example […]

Read More
BLM Strava
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Jul 22, 2020

Hundreds of athletes are currently in the midst of participating in what may very well be the most significant Strava art project ever – the spelling out of Black Lives Matter from NY to ME in “virtual letters” large enough to be read from outer space.  This BLM Strava art challenge initially began as a […]

Read More
Minnesota Cycling Advocate
Daniel Brazil Jul 01, 2020

I recently had the great opportunity to interview fellow cycling advocate, Dave Sanderson, the chair of Pedal Fergus Falls, a Minnesota bike advocacy group. What began as a simple conversation about advocacy turned into an inspiring deep dive into the work Pedal Fergus Falls has done and continues to do for our cycling community. Pedal […]

Read More
Bike Safety
Daniel Brazil Jun 05, 2020

As a cyclist (and bike crash attorney), I often worry that I’m placing my life in the hands of motorists each time I hop on my bike. And stories like this one about bike safety recently shared on Outside Online heighten my fears, as cyclist deaths continue to rise across the U.S. even in a […]

Read More
Biking After COVID 5
Ann Groninger May 28, 2020

What will biking after COVID be like? Before COVID, it seemed like there was a handful of people in my city who rode bikes to get places, and we all knew each other. We’ve always had a robust recreational road riding community of people who gather after work and on weekends to head out to […]

Read More
Bike Advocate
Bruce Hagen May 26, 2020

If you’ve ridden a bike anywhere in Atlanta, chances are you’ve met Atlanta bike advocate Angel Poventud.  If you’ve stopped for a post-ride beer, been to an important advocacy event, or to any major Atlanta gathering, chances are you have met Angel Poventud.   It may only seem that Angel is everywhere, but when you […]

Read More
Load More