NHTSA: Bicycle Accident Deaths on the Rise

The number of bicycle accident deaths is on the rise. Florida not only had the highest number of such fatalities, it reported the second-highest rate of deaths, when factoring in both population and percentage of total traffic deaths. bicyclists

This troubling news means once again, Florida is the most dangerous place for bicyclists in the country. It’s an issue about which our leaders – and drivers – must take more proactive measures if we hope to change course.

The report, released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reveals there were 818 bicyclists killed in the U.S. in 2015 (the latest year for which final statistics are available). This accounted for 2.3 percent of the total number of traffic deaths that year and marked a stunning 12.2 percent hike as compared to the final death toll tallied in 2014, when 729 bicyclists lost their lives.

However, there was a 10 percent decrease in the estimated number of injuries, which were calculated at 50,000 in 2014.

Bicycle accident deaths has fluctuated somewhat since 2006. At our lowest point in the last decade, there were 623 bicycle deaths (in 2010). Officials say 2015 marks the highest year on recent record, marking a 31 percent increase from its lowest point.

While bicycle crash fatalities accounted for 2.3 percent of the total number of auto accident deaths nationally, they comprised 5.1 percent of all vehicle deaths in Florida. That was higher than anywhere else in the country, except for Vermont, where bike accident deaths were 7 percent of the total traffic deaths. But in Vermont, there were a total of 4 bicycle accident deaths. Here in Florida, there were 150. The only place in the U.S. where this figure even came close was California, which reported 129 bicyclist deaths, despite having double Florida’s population.

So when we look at the fatal bicycle accident rate, Florida is calculated to have suffered 7.4 bicycle accident deaths per 1 million population, while California’s rate was 3.3. The only other states that came close in terms of the bike crash death rate were Louisiana (rate of 7.3, total number of bicycle deaths 34) and Vermont (rate of 6.4, total 4 deaths).

Figures reported by state officials to The Sun Sentinel for 2016 indicated 6,659 bicycles were reported struck by vehicles and 133 riders were killed.

Bear in mind: These figures exclude bicycle crashes that happened in parking lots, driveways and on private property. They also exclude crashes that may have been due to the negligence of another (i.e., city government for failure to maintain bike path or road) but did not involve a motor vehicle.

Of course, this is certainly not a contest and any loss of life is unacceptable. This is particularly true when the cause is so preventable. Although there can be numerous factors that contribute to a bike crash, we do know that driver carelessness and recklessness are a top cause. It was estimated alcohol was a factor in an estimated 37 percent of all deadly bicycle crashes.

The death rate for bicyclists was almost six times higher for men than women and the average age of bicyclists killed rose from 41 to 45 over the last decade. Children under 14 accounted for 5 percent of all bicyclists killed and 12 percent of those injured.

Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.

Additional Resources:

Bicyclists and Other Cyclists, March 2017, NHTSA

More Blog Entries:

City to Pay $4.85M to Man Injured in Bicycle Accident Caused by Damaged Sidewalk, March 23, 2017, Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog

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