For those wondering how common bicycle accidents are, and how to best avoid them, I prepared this short list of relevant Wisconsin bicycle injuries and accidents based on a DOT report in 2007:
Total Wisconsin Bicycle Accidents 1,163
Total Injuries 1,110
Total Fatalities 9
Dane County had 166 total bicycle accidents with 162 bicyclists injured. Milwaukee County had 251 total bicycle accidents with 234 bicyclists injured. Of the 6 cyclists killed by vehicles, 4 of the accidents occured in rural areas and two in urban. Of the 770 vehicle/bicyclist collisions, 661 where in urban areas and 109 in rural areas.
When looking at these statistics, it is clear that most of the time a bicycle rider gets hit, he or she is injured. In Dane county, injuries occured in 97.6% of the accidents. Furthermore, the statistics seem to suggest that a bicyclist has a greater chance of getting killed in a rural area. This makes sense as the cars travel faster. But on the other hand, in terms of bicycle vehicle collisions in Wisconsin, a bicyclist is much more likely to get hit in an Urban area than rural. This would also make sense since most bicycle riders are riding in urban areas, there is more congestion and likelihood of accident.
The lesson to take away from these statistics is that bicycle accidents in Wisconsin are quite common. A safe rider should always keep in mind his or her surroundings and the potential for an accident. If riding in the city, consider things like cars speeding up through yellow lights, cars turning right into you, cars turning left in front of you, cars backing out of parking spaces... If riding in a rural area do not forget that drivers often take advantage of the open roade, just as bicycle riders do. This means that you need to consider that a car may be coming at you in your lane, or a car cresting a hill may have no reason to think there are bikers climbing it on the other side.
Last, enjoy the roads and be considerate of others. Wisconsin has some of the best roads anywhere to bike, and here in Madison the trail system is terrific. Take time to enjoy the roads and your ride and do what you can to help improve them for others.