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In-Depth: Bicycle crashes, deaths climbing across Ohio

Bike Cleveland calls for more city safety measures
In-Depth: Ohio and U.S. bicycle crashes, deaths climbing
Posted at 10:05 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 00:05:30-04

CLEVELAND — Bike Cleveland hosted its tenth annual Ride of Silence on Cleveland Public Square and remembered local bicycle riders who lost their lives or were seriously injured in bike-related crashes.

Riders shared their stories and called for greater roadway safety measures and improvements in the judicial system.

Bike Cleveland Executive Director Jacob VanSickle told News 5 sadly fatal bike crashes are climbing in Ohio, with 55 riders killed in 2020, an 88% increase compared to 2019. VanSickle urged motorists and the City of Cleveland to take more steps to improve the safety of the Northeast Ohio riding environment.

“If the pandemic taught us anything about street safety, we saw an increase in crashes over 2020, while less people were driving," VanSickle said.

“It’s taught us that traffic calming in the City of Cleveland can’t come soon enough. For us, the most powerful thing is putting a human face behind these tragedies.”

“Wear a helmet, be vigilant out on the roadway, make yourself as visible as possible.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shared a new report from the Centers for Disease Control indicating more adults died from bicycle-related accidents over a 10-year period between 2009 and 2018. The report outlined nearly 597,000 bicycle-related traumatic brain injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms.

The CPSC said the report highlights the importance of wearing a helmet that has been approved and labeled by its agency.

Patty Davis, spokesperson for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, told News 5 riders must wear the proper helmet for their activity and stay away from buying a used helmet.

“It’s concerning that there was an increase in bicycle-related deaths from 2009 to 2018, and primarily that increase was among adults and a half million traumatic brain injuries,” Davis said.

“There is a federal safety standard for bicycle helmets and you want to look for that label that says it complies with CPSC safety standards.”

“There shouldn’t be a lot of wiggling in that strap, the helmet should not move from side to side, because if you have a crash or a fall, that helmet could come off.”

“It’s important that you replace your bike helmet if you’ve had an accident because you can’t tell if there’s been damage.”

Meanwhile, VanSickle said the City of Cleveland is working to improve bicycle safety with its Vision Zero Initiative, designed to improve bike lane safety and reduce fatal crashes on northeast Ohio roadways.

VanSickle said the city will put safety panels on 10 garbage trucks in 2021, in an effort to protect riders who have been cut-off on the road and could end up under a truck.