Simon Leufstedt

Study: Cyclist deaths on the rise in the US

A new study by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association shows that cyclist deaths in the US are rising.

Between 2010 and 2012, a total of 722 people were killed while riding their bike on US roads, which amounts to a 16 percent increase. The increase is drastically high when compared to deaths in vehicles which only had a 1 percent increase during the same period.

The people involved in bicycle fatalities are mainly adult and male, whom lives in large urban areas. Between 2010 and 2012, adults represented 84 percent of cyclist deaths and almost 70 percent of all bicycling fatalities happened in large cities – with more than half concentrated in just six states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan, and Texas.

“These are high population states with many urban centers, and likely reflect a high level of bicycle exposure and interaction with motor vehicles,” said the report’s author, Dr. Allan Williams.

A large contribution to bicycle fatalities are a lack of helmet use, with at least two-thirds of the fatally injured cyclists not wearing helmets. Another major culprit is alcohol. About 28 percent of the cyclists, over age 16, involved in these fatal accidents had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit to drive.

But while fatal bike accidents are rising, they are still only representing around two percent of overall motor vehicle-related fatalities in the US. This number has remained pretty much constant since 1975, when 1,003 people were killed while riding their bike.

Why do you think fatal bike accidents are rising? What could authorities do to increase the safety for cyclists?

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