Since records of bicyclist fatalities were first tabulated back in 1932, more than 53,000 cyclists have been killed in bicycle accidents and other traffic-related collisions—about the same as the number of U.S. service members who died in the Vietnam War.
Bicycle deaths comprise around 2 percent of all vehicle-related traffic fatalities on U.S. roads each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Bike accident injuries and deaths tend to affect young children disproportionately.
More Sobering Statistics About Bicycle Accidents
NHTSA reports a total of 743 bicyclist fatalities in 2013, which marks an increase of 1 percent over the previous year and a 19 percent increase since 2010.
In addition to the rise in the number of bicyclist fatalities, the percent of total vehicle-related fatalities involving bicyclists has steadily climbed over the past decade, increasing from 1.7 percent in 2004 to 2.3 percent in 2013.
Here in Indiana, 14 cyclists lost their lives in accidents during 2013. Bicyclist fatalities comprised 1.8 percent of the state's total traffic fatalities for the year. This works out to a fatality rate of 2.13 per million, which is only slightly lower than the national average.
Statistics also reveal that:
- Around 700 people die each year in bike accidents on U.S. roads.
- About 48,000 cyclists sustain injuries in vehicle-related traffic accidents in a typical year.
- According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 84 percent of all cyclist deaths involve people over the age of 19.
- The number of fatalities among cyclists over the age of 19 has increased 195 percent since 1975.
- The average age of bicyclists killed in accidents has risen to 44, with bicyclists between the ages of 55 and 59 having the highest fatality rate at 4.86 per million.
- 52 children under the age of 15 lost their lives in bicycle accidents in a single recent year, which equates to 7 percent of the total bicyclist fatalities.
- A grossly disproportionate number of bicyclists hurt or killed are male. In fact, the bicyclist fatality rate for males is close to 7 times higher than the rate for females.
- The majority of bicyclist fatalities take place in urban settings (68 percent), as compared to rural settings (32 percent).
- 57 percent of all fatal bicycle accidents occur in non-intersections.
- 61 percent of fatal bicycle accidents occur along major roads (not interstates and freeways).
- Cyclists under the age of 20 are more likely to be involved in a fatal bicycle accident along a minor road than cyclists who are 20 and older.
- The most dangerous time of day for cyclists is during the evening rush hours, between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m., with 22 percent of all bicyclist fatalities occurring during that time.
- The fewest number of fatal bicycle accidents happen between midnight and 5:59 a.m.
- The highest percentage of bicyclist fatalities occur between the months of May and September.
- Alcohol was reported to be a contributing factor in 34 percent of the vehicle-related collisions that resulted in a bicyclist fatality.
- Of all the cyclists killed in one recent year, 24 percent had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01 percent or higher and 20 percent registered a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Although every accident has a unique profile, bike injuries present certain recurring “themes.” First of all, bicyclists cannot wear seatbelts. Thus, they get easily thrown off their vehicles and land on their hands and forearms. As a result, we see a disproportionate number of bike-related wrist sprains, fractures, lacerations and soft-tissue injuries.
Other common cycling accident injuries include:
- Road rash
- Shoulder injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Whiplash and shock
- Traumatic brain injuries
The presence or absence of a bicycling helmet can strongly predict the nature of injuries. Obviously, bicyclists who wear helmets may be somewhat protected against serious head injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, whiplash, and shock. But a helmet does not totally protect the bike rider.
A bicyclist is more exposed on the roads than a motor vehicle driver, and the David-versus-Goliath nature of automobile-bike collisions typically leads to more unfortunate consequences for cyclists.
Our Indianapolis Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Help
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, contact the Sevenish Law Firm today. Attorney Randy Sevenish is a former police officer with more than two decades of experience recovering compensation for injured clients and their families. Call our office, contact us online or explore the resources on our website to learn more. We offer free consultations to personal injury victims.