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Friday, May 20, 2011

When Bikes And Cars Collide, Who's More Likely To Be At Fault?



Many of us here on NPR's Science Desk bike to work, and not just on Bike To Work Day. And like bike commuters everywhere, we delight in grumbling about the cars, trucks and buses that cut us off, drift into our lanes and honk at us.

But we'll also, mind you, tut tut at the cheeky fellow bikers who swoosh recklessly through red lights, speed down sidewalks and block crosswalks.

The tension between bikes and vehicles is evident on the streets of Washington, D.C., every day, and as bike-sharing programs allow more riders to take to city streets, more angry — and injurious — confrontations seem inevitable.

Cycling is still a relatively dangerous activity, after all. There were 630 fatalities and 51,000 injuries from bike-motor vehicle traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But who is really more likely to be at fault when bikes and vehicles collide?

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