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More bicyclists are dying on our roadways than ever

One might expect that with improvements in road safety across the nation and improved bike helmet use bicyclist deaths would have decreased compared to 12 years ago. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the roadways are killing more cyclists in the present than they were in the past.

Bicycle accident statistics from 2006 to 2015

Here are the most recent facts on bike safety:

  • In 2006, 772 cyclists died in traffic accidents. In 2015, 818 cyclists died in traffic accidents. Comparing 2006 to 2015, 6 percent more cyclists died in car crashes.
  • Bicyclist injuries have also increased over the years, with 44,000 injured in 2006 compared to 45,000 injured in 2015. That's a 2.3 percent increase in injuries over this time frame.
  • The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that cyclist injuries and deaths cost the nation approximately $4 billion annually.

Is the increase in deaths simply because there are more people riding bicycles?

In spite of these long-range statistics, there was a 3 percent decrease in fatalities from 2013 to 2014. Also, analysts are not certain whether the increase in bicycle deaths is because the roads are more dangerous or because more people are riding bikes than they were in the past.

Since 1994, the U.S. Department of Transportation has pursued a policy to double the amount of travel made by cyclists and pedestrians in the United States, while at the same time, reducing the number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries by 10 percent. Unfortunately, we have yet to achieve this goal as a nation.

Bicycle accident prevention should be a top priority

With more Colorado cyclists commuting to work than school, it's vital that our state doubles down its efforts to keep these healthy members of society safe. Municipalities need to resolve risky road conditions, motorists need to pay attention to the road instead of their cellphones, cyclists need to learn the rules of the road and cyclists also need to utilize helmets, reflective gear and lights on the bikes. Cyclists injured by dangerous road conditions and negligent drivers may also want to hold the parties responsible for their injuries financially liable in court.

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