A new federal report on bicycling deaths reveals that 2015 was the deadliest year in a decade for riders, with 818 cyclists across the United States killed in collisions with motor vehicles.
This figure represents a 12.2 percent increase over the number of cyclist fatalities in 2014, and a 6 percent increase in bicycling deaths since 2006, according to the report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Of the 818 bicycling deaths in 2015, 96 percent (783) happened in single-vehicle crashes, with 84 percent of those victims being impacted by the front-end of a vehicle. The report states that “light trucks” were most often involved in collisions that killed cyclists (45 percent).
Meanwhile, there is some better news when it comes to bike accidents and injuries. According to the report, an estimated 45,000 cyclists were hurt in crashes in 2015 — a 10 percent decrease over the number of injuries in 2014.
The 2015 report also revealed the following about bicycling deaths:
- From 2006-2015, the average age of cyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes steadily increased from 41 to 45.
- Most bicycling deaths occurred at non-intersections (61 percent), while 3 percent occurred in bicycle lanes.
- The cyclist fatality rate per million people was almost six times higher for males than females.
- Alcohol involvement – either for the motor vehicle operator or the cyclist – was reported in 37 percent of all fatal crashes.
- 85 percent of deaths were male.
- 70 percent of fatalities occurred in urban areas.
- Most bicycling deaths occurred between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.
- The largest number of fatalities were in Florida (150) and California (129). All other states had 50 or less fatalities.
The 2015 statistics demonstrate the risks associated with cycling, as with all forms of transportation. The numbers further show that the risks increase depending on certain factors, like time of day (night is riskier), a cyclist’s experience, the location of travel and alcohol use, among other things.
But the bottom line is this: bicycling deaths continue to represent only about 2 percent of all traffic fatalities. As a result, it is undisputed that cycling remains a healthy and safe way to travel.
With that said, cyclists must always take adequate safety measures to help avoid an accident or injury, such as wearing a properly fitted helmet, obeying the Michigan rules of the road and increasing their visibility to drivers. And when it comes to motorists, they need to share the road with cyclists, leave a safe distance when passing riders and watch for cyclists when making turns.
If you are injured in a bicycle collision with a motor vehicle, an experienced bicycle accident attorney can help protect your rights, including any no-fault insurance benefits to which you may be entitled. Contact our Michigan bike lawyers today for a free consultation.