Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky knows too well the dangers bike riders face as they travel along our roadways either exercising or commuting. Sadly, recent government data suggest that the numbers of bike riders who died in car accidents rose nearly ten percent over the last decade. According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, last year was the deadliest in over ten years for bike riders. That rise, coupled with the rise in pedestrian roadway deaths, represents a U-turn from prior years when the number of bike and pedestrian wrongful deaths was steadily dropping. The NHTSA is rightfully concerned that advances in vehicle safety have helped reduce the number of drivers and passengers who die in car and truck accident, there has not been enough technological changes to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.
While some car makers have begun to install automatic braking systems, which are designed to protect bike riders and pedestrians, the majority of manufacturers have not made such systems standard, instead only offering those as expensive options. As we’ve previously reported, due to the ever increasing problem of distracted driving and the rise in the number of large vehicles on the road, which are more deadly than cars, the need to protect those outside of vehicles has become a pressing need, particularly in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale where our weather encourages more outdoor activity, including walking and biking. Thankfully the vast number of car manufacturers have decided to get ahead of pending regulations and agreed to have emergency braking installed in all their vehicles by late 2022. Also, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is trying to motivate manufactures to speed up implementation of such equipment by letting manufacturers know that only vehicles with pedestrian detection and braking systems as standard equipment will be eligible for its Top Safety Pick rating. The IIHS believes autonomous braking will help motorists avoid nearly 30,000 car accidents and prevent over 10,000 injuries within the next 5 years.
In addition to automatic emergency braking, manufacturers are evaluating other pedestrian and cyclist safety measures, such as those being used in Europe, including using materials on bumpers which are less rigid, meaning they will cause less damage to a pedestrian. Other advances include the utilization of so-called artificial intelligence which will allow cars and trucks to react more quickly to unexpected dangers. AI is also being used to trigger faster responses from emergency personnel, including ambulances and fire rescue, which it is hoped will result in fewer serious car accident injuries.