As more and more bicycle riders have hit the road over the last decade, the odds of bike accidents have also increased. While a growing number of municipalities successfully implemented secure cycling infrastructure and other safety measures, our nation’s roads are still far from being safe for all cyclists as bicycle-related fatalities in recent years have shown.
How Many Cyclists Are Killed in Bike Accidents?
The number of bike-related injuries and deaths vary greatly depending on who’s doing the reporting. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bike accident fatalities caused by motor-vehicle collisions saw a 6% increase in 2018 from a year prior, to 857 fatalities.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 420,000 injuries treated in the nation’s emergency rooms in 2018 were the result of a bicycle accident or bicycle-related incident.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reported for 2018 1,024 bike-related fatalities of whom 682 cyclists were killed in motor-vehicle crashes, which is a 30% increase over just a decade. Surprisingly, while the number of people killed in bike accidents saw a big jump, the number of nonfatal injuries saw a decline of 44% over the same period.
Across the pond, 18,477 bicyclists were injured on the U.K.’s roads in 2016, with nearly 3,500 being killed or seriously maimed. British authorities underlined that these numbers were taken from police reports, which means that the real number of injuries might be even greater than that as many injuries, even those that need immediate medical attention, often go unreported.
What’s more, most of the bike fatalities and injuries that make up the statistics are usually those happening on the nation’s roads. While the number of fatalities remains accurate, the number of serious injuries occurring away from the road might be two to three times greater than officially reported.
Fatal bike accidents are more likely to occur in the summer months to early fall (in 2018, the peak of fatalities happened in September) and least likely to happen in late winter (the lowest number of bike-related fatalities is usually reported for February).
In addition, adults are more likely to be killed in a bike accident than children and teens (90% vs 10%), and males are more at risk dying in a bike accident than females (87% vs 13%).
A Staggering Uptick in Fatal Bike Accidents
According to the NSC data, despite the huge decrease in the number of nonfatal bike injuries over the last decade, the percentage of fatal bike accidents has mysteriously jumped 30%. Experts believe that the decrease in nonfatal injuries may be due to cities’ efforts to make the public roads safer for cyclists.
Some of the reasons more cyclists are killed in bike accidents include:
· Not all municipalities have implemented the necessary infrastructure for safe cycling as bicycle safety features are not as easily to set up as they are in suburban or rural communities;
· Distracted or careless drivers
· New cyclists unaware of cycling safety rules.
Deadliest Cities for Cyclists
Cities are still the most dangerous places to ride a bike in, with 70% of fatalities happening in an urban setting. The two main causes are heavily trafficked roads and the absence of a safe infrastructure.
In the United States, the riskiest states to ride your bike in are California, Texas, and Florida, with a 41 percent combined death toll. The riskiest cities for bikers based on the number of cyclists killed in bike accidents every year per 100,000 commuters include:
· Cape Coral, Florida (1,333 fatalities)
· Abilene, Texas (1,116)
· San Bernardino, California (578)
· Dayton, Ohio (459)
· Pompano Beach, Florida (417)
· Chula Vista, California (358)
· Stockton, California (327)
· Baton Rouge, Louisiana (319)
· Memphis, Tennessee (309)
· Lakeland, Florida (299)
While some municipalities have made impressive strides toward keeping their roads safe for cyclists, most urban parts of the nation are still not safe. As the number of bicyclists continues to climb, so do bike-related fatalities, with the bulk of fatal bike accidents happening in motor-vehicle collisions.
Reckless or negligent drivers along with the lack proper infrastructure are often a fatal cocktail for many bicyclists. So, if you were severely injured while riding a bike or a loved one died in a bicycle accident because of the gross negligence of either authorities or other traffic participants, contact a bicycle accident lawyer immediately to see what your options are.