2012 More Deadly for Bicyclists

The U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) just released its statistics for 2012 traffic crashes in the United States. Nationwide, the facts are particularly troubling for cyclists and pedestrians.

From 2011 to 2012, bicycling deaths increased from 682 to 726.  This is a jump of 6.5%.  Pedestrian deaths increased from 4,457 in 2011 to 4,743, an increase of 6.4%.  Bicycling deaths are 2.2% of all traffic fatalities in 2012 (download PDF), which is also an increase from 2011.

NTSA also conducted a national survey of bicyclist and pedestrian attitudes in 2012. The survey results confirm that cyclists are afraid of motorists, often feel threatened for their safety, have experienced cyclists “buzzing” them (violating the 3 feet passing law), and yet, these cyclists would like to be able to ride more – they enjoy cycling notwithstanding the perceived dangers. Here are specific telling findings in the survey, which explain cycling habits and the dangers experienced:

  1. The most frequent way in which cyclists are injured is being hit by a car.
  2. 12% of all cyclists felt threatened for the personal safety on their most recent bike ride.
  3. Of the bicycle riders who felt unsafe, an overwhelming 83% cited motorists as the reason.
  4. The most common complaint by cyclists about motorists was that they “drove very close to me”.  This was 39% of all the complaints about motorists.
  5. The next most common complaint was that motorists drive “too fast”.
  6. 46% of all cyclists said they never wear a helmet when they ride.  28% said they alwayswear a helmet.  (In Florida, only cyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear a bicycle helmet.)
  7. The 2 most common reasons for not wearing a bicycle helmet were they don’t wear them on short trips, and they don’t own a helmet.
  8. Yet, 63% would favor a mandatory bicycle helmet law for adults.
  9. 79% of all cyclists said they never (or almost never) use an electronic device, such as cellphone or iPod, while they ride.  However, 38% of bicycle riders between the age of 16-24 use electronic devices on some of their rides.
  10. 71% of bicycle riders never or almost never ride at dark.
  11. 72% of bicycle riders, when riding after dark, do something to try to make themselves more visible.
  12. 44% of cyclists use a front headlight at dark.  35% use a taillight.  42% wear reflective clothing.
  13. The most common change bicycle riders desire in their community is “more bike lanes” and “more bike paths”
  14. 38% of cyclists indicated they ride their bikes more than a year ago, and 55% said they would like to bike more than they are currently biking.
  15. The median length of a ride for the cyclists surveyed was 45 minutes.
  16. 61% of bicycle riders rode for recreation or health.  36% rode for errands, commuting to work or school, or to visit friends.
  17. 62% of bicyclists traveled alone on their last ride.

If you are a cyclist who has been injured by a motorist or any other condition, please contact me to discuss the circumstances and legal rights surrounding your crash.  Please don’t end up being one of the national fatality statistics or part of our 6.5% increase in cycling deaths.