FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 13, 2023
Media Contact: Helen Jonsen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-977-7534
Statement by Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety On IIHS Study on Impact of SUV Crashes Involving Cyclists
(Washington, D.C.-April 13, 2023) The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released a new study showing sport utility vehicles (SUVs) cause more severe injuries to bicyclists in crashes than cars, particularly with respect to head injuries. The study states these results are likely because the SUVs’ tall front end strikes bicyclists higher on their bodies. Prior IIHS research also found SUVs have larger blindzones compared to sedans and are therefore more of a danger to other road users outside the vehicle. We commend IIHS for their important and insightful studies, and we urge our Nation’s leaders to address this issue by taking immediate action to stop preventable crashes from occurring in the first place.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), crashes involving pedalcyclists are on the rise with 966 cyclists reported killed and over 41,000 injured in 2021.
In a related issue, in 2020, more than 500 people were killed in frontover crashes, the majority of whom are children, according to Kids and Car Safety. This is unacceptable. Safety technologies that can prevent forward-moving crashes are available now including front-facing cameras, warning systems, and automatic emergency braking (AEB).
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must fulfill the vehicle safety rulemakings mandated in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, Pub. L. 117-58) with great expediency and urgency. This includes issuing minimum performance standards for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) including AEB and other crash avoidance technologies.
These standards need to apply to all new vehicles and ensure all road users are protected in all lighting conditions and at all appropriate speeds. Currently, consumers may only have the option for these safety upgrades as part of a luxury package or on high-end trim models that many cannot afford. Moreover, the lack of safety standards for ADAS leaves consumers unprotected, as some may not perform as expected and needed.
With bicyclists out enjoying warmer weather conditions, taking a bike ride must not turn into a death sentence. Our federal leaders must take immediate action to advance known and available solutions to make our roadways safe for those on a bike as well as all road users.