The Bigger The Car, The Bigger The Risk For Cyclists, Pedestrians

Mar 20 2023

Automotive trends come and go, but signs suggest that America’s penchant for large vehicles is here to stay. The sales of large vehicles such as trucks and SUVs have outpaced the sales of smaller cars since 2002, and the number of pedestrians and cyclists losing their lives on New York and the nation’s roadways has risen steadily as a result.

According to Slate, four out of every five cars sold across the United States today are either large trucks or large SUVs. Also, the average size of trucks and SUVs has increased in recent years, with many automakers adding pounds and inches to their large vehicles with each new model they produce.

Why big cars pose such a threat

When large, heavy vehicles strike pedestrians or cyclists, the chances of the victim living through the incident are lower than it would be had the person in the car been in a traditional-size sedan. This is because larger vehicles exert more force on those they strike. Larger vehicles also have higher leading edges, which are the parts of the car that hit a pedestrian or cyclist first. Large vehicles with higher leading edges hit victims higher up on their bodies. This makes the victims more likely to suffer serious head, neck, back or internal injuries.

What some communities and nations are doing to enhance safety

Some communities and nations are making efforts to incentivize residents to invest in smaller vehicles. France, for example, taxes residents based on the weight of their vehicles. California is considering doing something similar by charging residents registration fees based on the weight of the cars they drive.

While many people opt for SUVs and big trucks because they believe they provide more safety for their loved ones, the fact is, larger vehicles actually reduce safety for everyone traveling outside of them.

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