California Is The 6th Most Dangerous State For Cyclists

While cycling has grown in popularity in recent years, it has especially boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic as people moved to the outdoors to exercise and looked for alternatives to public transportation. At the same time, cycling has become more dangerous—according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cycling traffic fatalities increased by 35% from 2009 to 2019. Cities with bad traffic and less bike-friendly infrastructure are particularly dangerous for cyclists.

After decreasing for a number of years, cyclist traffic fatalities have been trending upwards since 2010. When considering bicycle fatalities as a share of all vehicle fatalities, the percentage has also been increasing. In 2005, bike fatalities made up 1.8% of all vehicle fatalities; in 2019, that figure had risen to 2.3%, when 846 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents. The increase in cyclist deaths is likely due to a number of factors—worsening traffic, more drivers distracted by smartphones, and an increase in the number of cyclists on the road.

More cyclists on the road tends to mean more cyclist traffic deaths. In warmer parts of the country, where people can ride outside for longer portions of the year, cyclist deaths are more common. Between 2015 and 2019, Florida and Louisiana reported the most cyclist fatalities per capita, at 7.0 and 5.6 annual cyclist fatalities per 1 million residents, respectively. Looking at total cyclist fatalities, Florida, California, and Texas were responsible for 42% of deaths despite accounting for just 27% of the total U.S. population.

To find the states with the most cyclist traffic fatalities, researchers at CLIQ analyzed the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked states according to the number of annual cyclist fatalities per capita, averaged over the period of 2015–2019. Researchers also calculated the annual cyclist fatalities per capita compared to average, total cyclist fatalities, cyclist fatalities as a share of total vehicle fatalities, and the share of workers that commute by bike.

The analysis found that in California, 734 cyclists were killed between 2015 and 2019, which amounted to 4.0% of all vehicle fatalities over that span. On average, 3.7 cyclists are killed each year for every one million California residents. Out of all U.S. states, California is the 6th most dangerous for cyclists. Here is a summary of the data for California:

  • Annual cyclist fatalities per 1M residents: 3.7
  • Annual cyclist fatalities per 1M (compared to average): +43%
  • Total cyclist fatalities (2015–2019): 734
  • Cyclist fatalities as a share of total vehicle fatalities: 4.0%
  • Share of workers that commute by bike: 0.9%

For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:

  • Annual cyclist fatalities per 1M residents: 2.6
  • Annual cyclist fatalities per 1M (compared to average): N/A
  • Total cyclist fatalities (2015–2019): 4,205
  • Cyclist fatalities as a share of total vehicle fatalities: 2.3%
  • Share of workers that commute by bike: 0.5%

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on CLIQ’s website: https://www.cliqproducts.com/blogs/news/the-most-dangerous-cities-for-cyclists

Mike LaFirenza writes for Lattice News Wire


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