The number of bicyclists killed in the U.S. is trending upward, particularly for certain subsets of the population, according to a report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The study shows that yearly bicyclist deaths increased by 16% between 2010 and 2012, while overall motor vehicle fatalities increased just one perfect during the same time period.
Adults ages 20 and older represented 84% of the bicyclist fatalities in 2012, compared to 21% in 1975. Adult males accounted for 74% of the total number of cyclists killed in 2012.
Bicycle fatalities are an increasing, especially in urban areas, accounting for 69% of all bicycle fatalities in 2012, compared with 50% in 1975. These changes do correlate with an increased number of bicycling commuters in busy cities like New York.
While bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes increased in 22 states between 2010 and 2012, six state – California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan, and Texas – represented 54% of all fatalities.
There is some data that hasn’t changed over the past years, however. Cyclists killed are predominantly males (88% in 2012). Failure to wear a helmet along with alcohol impairment continue to contribute to a majority of bicyclist fatalities. In 2012, two-thirds or more of fatally injured bicyclists were not wearing a helmet, and 28% of riders over the age of 16 were intoxicated at the time of the incident. The number of cyclists injured due to intoxication remain relatively constant since the early 1980s.
“Many states are dedicating resources to ensuring the safety of all roadway users, including bicyclists, by investing in educating bicyclists and motorists, promoting helmet use, enforcing motor vehicle laws and implementing infrastructure changes,” according to the GHSA. As an example, the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee promotes helmet use by funding bicycle helmet distribution programs and proper fit training.
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