In California and across the U.S., more and more people are bicycling, both for fun and transport. As ride-shares proliferate and individuals become more concerned about their global "footprint," the bike will continue to be an easy, accessible method of transportation for everybody from kids to adults and seniors. But, as ridership increases, so does the risk of injury.
In fact, bike deaths are increasing at an alarming rate, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which determined that such tragic accidents have outpaced the rise in overall traffic deaths.
What the numbers say
The average age of bicyclists that died in traffic collisions in 2015 (the year the report examined) was 45 years old. In 1998, the average age was 24, reflecting the growth of bicycling as a hobby that is no longer just considered child's play.
More interesting stats:
- Alcohol was involved in a third of fatal bike crashes. Some 37 percent of accidents involve alcohol, with automobile drivers being impaired in 12% of cases and bicyclists drinking in 22% of accidents (though this is a decline from a decade ago, when 38% of bicyclists were found to be under the influence following an accident).
- Most crashes don't involve intersections. Rather, some 72% took place on the roadway.
- More than half of cyclists killed were not found to be wearing a helmet. Wear a helmet. Always.
- An even split of accidents occurred during daytime and nighttime. However, 80% of bike rides occur in the daytime.
The GHSA report, which was examined in a recent article by the Washington Post, also recommends that cities add more bike lanes and include traffic signals that give riders a head start at green lights. However, many states restrict the ability to use federal highway funds for cycling programs, slowing the progress of bike and car road integration.