Tomorrow is National Bike to Work Day, which is exciting because the weather report indicates that tomorrow will be a beautiful Bay Area day. But if you’re planning to ride to work tomorrow, GJEL Accident Attorneys encourages you to wear a helmet, consider the injury statistics for road cyclists, and adopt a share-the-road courtesy to assure maximum safety.

According to last year’s San Francisco MTA Citywide Bicycle Count Report, there were 53 percent more bicyclists on the road compared to 2006. This is good news because biking to work is healthy and better for the environment than driving. But it also increases the likelihood of unfortunate accidents as more bikers vie to share the road with drivers.

“With the increase in number of people cycling to work, there’s bound to be an increase in accidents,” said Andrew Gillin, managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys. “Rules of the road don’t change for motorists or cyclists, and everyone needs to use extra caution and courtesy when sharing roadways in the city or elsewhere.”

Every day, we see tragic stories of commuters hurt or injured in bike accidents. Just yesterday, for example, a 35-year-old Oakland-based cyclist was struck and killed by an AC Transit bus. This story, in addition to thousands others each year, has inspired a group called Ride to Silence to honor killed cyclists by biking silently, in a single file line, through dozens of cities nationwide.

In a press statement released today, GJEL Accident Attorneys laid out California’s bike accident statistics, which are sobering to say the least:

In 2008 in California, there were 11,683 bike accidents, including 131 fatalities, 11 percent more than 2007, and 14 percent more than 2006. Since 2005, bike injuries among the 15-24 page bracket rose 33 percent, according to California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records system. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show there has been a 14 percent reduction in fatalities among cyclists between 1997 and 2007.

While that last statistic is encouraging, it may be misleading. “Many bicycle accidents are under-reported, especially those that do not involve a vehicle,” says Gillin. “As the roadways become more crowded with traditional and alternative means of transportation, fellow commuters on foot or wheels must be more alert when hitting any street or roadway.”

Enjoy biking to work tomorrow. And remember to be safe!

Photo credit: Ed  Yourdon

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.