Misleading D.C. Bike Accident Headlines Harm Public Image of Cyclists

On a fairly regular—and ever increasing—basis, we read about bicycling accidents in Washington, D.C., or hear about these tragedies on the evening news. While an accident is always noteworthy, our collegiate statistics courses from long ago always cause us to wonder: Are these headlines trying imply that bicycling is getting more dangerous?

In some cases, it would seem as though that is exactly what the news is trying to tell us. There is a longstanding animosity between some motorists and bicyclists that the roads are no place for bicycles. Any time road improvements include plans for bike lanes or shared lanes, it is not hard to find opposition from drivers.

These headlines are doing more than letting the public know about a person who was hurt or killed, though—they are serving as fodder for the anti-bicycle sentiment that seems to permeate the motorist community, though likely unintentionally. As your own statistics professor may have told you, baseless figures mean nothing because they are so easily manipulated. Though there may be more bicyclist accidents reported on a regular basis, the number of people that rely on bicycles as a primary mode of transportation has increased exponentially. This means that overall, people are getting better at navigating our city streets on two wheels.

Anti-cyclist sentiment is not directly harmful, but the animosity that many drivers harbor towards bikers may unintentionally make them more careless when sharing the streets. If you have been injured by a careless driver, you do not have to fight the insurance companies alone. The District area bicycle accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins believe firmly in your right to cycle safely on the streets—call us today at 202-296-0666 to discuss your rights following an accident.