According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA), the rate of serious injuries and fatalities involving cyclists has been holding fairly steady over the past 10 to 15 years.
While that is good news in some respects, it also shows that there is room for improvement and a genuine reason to look for ways to enhance the safety of our roads for cyclists. Here is a summary of the data, and some insights:
Bicycle-related Fatalities in the US
The take away here is that there is a significant correlation between fatal bicycle accidents and visibility issues (8 pm – 11:59 pm) and traffic volume (4 pm – 7:59 pm).
What about the age ranges of the cyclists who are involved in these crashes? On that issue the data reveals the following:
Age of those killed
Age of those injured
The take away from this data is not entirely clear. Certainly the data show that the age of persons injured or killed in cycling accidents is on the rise. In my personal opinion, it merely reflects the fact that recreational cycling has become more popular amongst older, affluent persons in the past 10-15 years. Some speculate that this has been driven by increased media attention on cycling due to the popularity of figures like Lance Armstrong. However, what is probably more significant is that there is no particular age group which regularly dominates the statistics and thus, “risky behaviors” on the part of the involved cyclists do not appear to be a driving factor behind the accidents.
Serious Bicycle Accidents – Data Sorted by Reported Alcohol Involvement:
Generally speaking, the NTSB data do not show a significant correlation between alcohol and most reported bicycle accidents. For example, in 2010 just over 1/3 of the accidents revealed that the involved cyclist had a BAC over .01. However, the data on fatal accidents is striking in that in 20% of those fatalities, 20% involved a reported BAV of .08 or higher.
Fatal Bicycle Accidents – Data Sorted by State (2010 NTSB Data):
Analysis of the data on the frequency of fatal bicycle accidents reveals that locations with higher concentrations of cyclists sharing urban zones, or where the sport is generally more popular or more available due to climate, dominate the list. Variations in local laws which make the roadways friendly for cyclists certainly have an impact, though it’s not easy to see from a casual review of these data. Where does your state rank?
No. of Fatalities in 2010