When it comes to car accidents, no one on the Louisiana roadways is completely safe. A report released earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Louisiana had the third-highest rate of bicyclist deaths in the United States.

The bicycle death rate has fallen nearly 35 percent since 1975, but the reason for this drop has to do with the fact that children are riding their bikes less often these days. The rate among adult drivers between the ages of 35 and 74 increased from 1975 to 2012. Overall, the mortality rate from 2008 to 2012 was .33 for 100,000 people.

Distracted drivers are responsible for a number of pedestrian and bicycle accidents in the state. Many Louisiana drivers find bicyclists to be a nuisance and believe that they shouldn’t be on the roadways. However, the law states that adult cyclists are required to ride in the street and not on the sidewalks. Automobiles are required to give cyclists at least 3 feet of space, whether or not there is a bike lane.

Experts say that bike lanes can help drivers coexist with cyclists on the roadways. However, major Louisiana cities such as Lafayette and Baton Rouge lack the bike lanes that other major U.S. cities have.

Motor vehicle accidents are responsible for numerous deaths and injuries across the country, leaving thousands of families devastated. Victims and their families can file lawsuits against reckless drivers to recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses and other costs. These damages can ensure that a family’s financial status is not ruined by one tragic day.

Source: The Acadiana Advocate, “Rate for adult cycling deaths in Louisiana rises; State ranks 3rd in nation for bicyclist fatalities,” Maya Lau, Aug. 17, 2015