SUVs continue their popularity in the market and dominance on roads throughout the nation. While manufacturers tout the safety of these larger vehicles, what many consider a dangerous and deadly design flaw can put other travelers at risk.
According to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, bicyclists suffer severe injuries higher on their bodies due to the SUVs’ taller front end that inhibits visibility. Instead of landing on the hood, riders are being knocked down and run over. In some cases, cyclists are run over by the larger vehicle.
Referred to as ground-impact injuries, they are twice as common in SUVs as in other vehicle models. Pedestrians are also feeling the literal pain of collisions. Regardless of biking or walking, lower head and extremity injuries are shockingly common. Additional damage can be done to the torso, abdomen, spine, and limbs.
By comparison, SUVs colliding with pedestrians can result in an impact on the chest or pelvis.
SUV-involved, fatal bicycle accidents are also on an alarming rise. In 2010, 621 crashes took the lives of bicyclists. Ten years later, the number grew to 932. Researchers cite the growing popularity of pickups and SUVs that are statistically more dangerous than cars.
Compared to cars, head injuries from SUVs were 63 percent higher. Overall bodily trauma was 55 percent higher. SUVs are also the only vehicle where injuries were caused by running over bicyclists.
The dangers to bicyclists are two-fold, with three possible outcomes, including getting knocked to the ground and run over. Injuries can still be significant and potentially life-changing, even if the latter doesn’t occur.
SUV manufacturers have an obligation to rethink a design flaw to prevent further havoc that leaves accident victims severely injured.