These U.S. Cities Are A Death Trap For Cyclists

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In recent years, the bicycle industry has undergone a significant transformation. With the outbreak of COVID-19, a higher number of Americans than ever before began using bikes, feeling safer commuting alone outdoors than on public transportation. [1]

Furthermore, with many people having more free time, cycling became a popular recreational activity. This increased demand led to a nationwide shortage of bikes during the spring and summer of 2020. [2]

Despite the reduction in automobile traffic on many roads, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported an increase of 6.8% in all kinds of road fatalities from crashes in 2020 compared to the previous year.[3]

Experts typically require approximately seven or eight consecutive points on a graph to analyze a trend, meaning it takes almost a decade of observation to determine whether something is trending up or down. Thus, concluding a single year’s data is risky.

Despite this, the rise in road fatalities for cyclists is cause for concern, and it supports the feeling among many cyclists that drivers show hostility toward them and fails to share the road.

In 2020, 938 individuals using pedal-powered or non-motorized two-wheeled vehicles were killed in motor vehicle accidents, according to NHTSA’s report, which is 9% higher than the previous year. Furthermore, according to the National Safety Council, hundreds of cyclists died in non-traffic-related accidents.[4]

Even when nothing technically goes wrong, cyclists can sense whether a location is hospitable or aggressive toward them.

Recent data from the NHTSA showed that Tucson, Arizona, was the deadliest big city for cyclists with 1.26 deaths per 100,000 people. Detroit, Michigan, was the second-deadliest, with 1.2 deaths per 100,000 residents, and Jacksonville, Florida, was the third-deadliest, with 1.09 deaths per 100,000.[5]

However, this data does not present the entire story, as additional factors such as weather, infrastructure, unemployment, and population demographics must be considered.

The same study identified Nashville, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; El Paso, Texas; and Denver, Colorado, as the safest big cities for cyclists, where no cyclists died in motor-vehicle crashes in 2020.

According to data, 79% of driver-on-cyclist crashes occur in urban areas, and they are more prevalent during summer months. The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) ranks states based on their cyclist friendliness, considering factors such as infrastructure, funding, education, traffic laws, policies, and planning. [6]

Based on these considerations, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington are the best states for cyclists, while Wyoming, Nebraska, and Mississippi are the worst.

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About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.