20% of fatal crashes were a hit-and-run from 2015-2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
857 people on bikes were killed by drivers around the country in 2018, the deadliest year for cyclists and pedestrians on American roads since 1990, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Cycling fatalities have been on the rise since 2010 at the same time as driver and passenger fatalities have reached all-time lows.
During the pandemic when car traffic is down, more people than ever are riding bikes around the country to avoid public transportation and to safely exercise outside, but cyclist fatalities are gearing up.
That means that as restrictions lift and cars begin returning to our roads at pre-pandemic levels, even more cyclists will die, according to Outside Magazine.
The magazine points to rising speed limits, distracted drivers, and Americans driving more miles as the cause of cycling fatalities.
In 1995, Congress removed the national maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour. From December 2017 to December 2018, speed limits were raised on 196 miles of roads in Los Angeles.
Additionally, 1 in 4 American adults admits to multitasking and driving.
When you head out for your next bike ride be aware of a few facts to keep you safer:
- Regardless of the season, bicyclist deaths occurred most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- Bicyclist deaths occur most often in urban areas (75%) compared to rural areas (25%) in 2017.
- Bicyclist deaths were 8 times higher for males than females in 2017.
- Alcohol was involved in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes in 2017.
Tips for drivers:
- Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists and do not underestimate their speed. This will help avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.
- In parking lots, at stop signs, when packing up, or when parking, search your surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles.
- Drivers turning right on red should look to the right and behind to avoid hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning right on red.
- Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.
- Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely. Pass bicyclists as you would any other vehicle—when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane.
Beyond statistics and tips whether you are biking or driving, be mindful the next time you are on the road and we can all help make our communities safer.