According to recent data released by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the number of bicycle accident in Boston suburbs rose by 9 percent between 2010 and 2012. While that is not good news, it is still lower than the 13 percent increase statewide increase over the same period of years.

Interestingly, the data does not include bicycle accidents in the city of Boston itself, since Boston police don’t actually report most bicycle crashes to the state. That may or may not leave out significant numbers. According to the US Census from 2012, there are more bicycle commuters in communities outside Boston than there are in Boston itself.

What could account for the increase? Certainly the increase in the popularity of cycling is a major reason, for which an increase in the number of cycling accidents is inevitable. Whatever other causes there may be, though, safety advocates agree that more needs to be done to address the issue. One major way to do this is through improving infrastructure design, keeping cyclists in mind. Some of this has already begun to be addressed in different places, but expansion needs to happen.

Bicycle accident victims need to understand their rights not only when it comes to using the roadway, but also in seeking recovery for damages sustained in a crash. Motorists who fail to exercise reasonable care need to be held accountable for accidents they cause, particularly when the consequences of the accident are serious as they can be in bike crashes.

Source: Boston Globe, “Bike fatalities rise in Greater Boston’s suburbs,” Steven A. Rosenberg and Catherine Cloutier, October 11, 2014.