Bicycle Accident Statistics
Many individuals choose to ride a bicycle to get to work, school, or exercise as an admirable transportation choice to stay healthy while reducing their carbon footprint. However, statistics show that bicycle accidents happen at an alarming rate, often leaving the victim severely injured or dead.
Were you severely injured in a bicycle accident, or did you lose a loved one through a wrongful death caused by another’s negligence? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can ensure your family receives the financial compensation you deserve for your damages.
Contact our bicycle accident injury attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All information you share with our lawyers remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 5000 bicyclists are injured every year, and another 700 die in traffic accidents. Most bicycle accidents happen in dense urban areas, where bicyclists and motorists share the same road in crowded conditions.
Statistics show that over 2% of all traffic accident fatalities involve bicyclists nationwide. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that in 2016, more than 467,000 bicyclists were injured in the United States.
National Statistics and Facts: Bicycle Accidents
The number of fatal bike accidents involving riders 19 years old or younger decreased by 88% since 1975. Sadly, the fatality rate for bicyclists over 19 years of age triple during the same period.
- The National Center for Health Statistics revealed that August was the most dangerous month for bicyclists in 2019
- In 2018, hospitals reported that nearly 425,000 people visited the emergency department for a bicycle-related accident
- Bicycle accident statistics reveal that nearly 55% of the time, a motor vehicle operator is cited for an accident involving a bike rider
- Statistics reveal that children 14 years old and younger are five times more likely to suffer an injury in a bicycle-related accident than older cyclists
- In 2019, cyclists 50 to 54 years of age had the highest injury and death incident rate for males of any age group nationwide, with 132 bike deaths
- The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety facts stats reported in 2018 that a hit-and-run accident occurs more than once every minute in America
- Over 80% of all children 14 years and under involved in a bicycle fatality rode into the street, turned left illegally, or ran a stop sign
- Approximately 47% of children hospitalized for a bicycle accident-related injury were diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury
- Severe head trauma accounts for approximately 60% of all bike deaths
- Older children and younger teens between 10 and 14 years old, especially boys, have the highest incident death rate for bicycle-related skull injuries compared to all age groups
- The percentage of accident rates decline dramatically when cyclists travel in bike lanes that are typically marked on the right side of roads
- In approximately 33% of all bicycle accidents, neither the bicyclist nor the driver had a blood alcohol content level higher than the legal limit (0.08% g/dl blood alcohol concentrations)
- The National Safety Council reported that bicycle accidents rose approximately 9% between 2016 and 2019
- Fatal and non-fatal bicycle accidents have cost American citizens more than $250 billion over the last two decades
Bicycle Accident Fatalities
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that nearly 90,000 bicyclists have died in the United States over the last decade. About 75% of all bicycle accidents occur during daylight hours, and less than 15% happen in the dark, on lighted streets.
Some cyclist accident fatality statistics include:
- Only 3.8% of all bicycle accidents occur at dawn or dusk
- About 29% of all bike deaths occur on interstates and freeways, and 63% occur on major roadways
- Approximately 68% of all bike fatalities happened in urban areas in 2017
- About 35% of all bike accident deaths occurred in intersections in 2017
- Nearly 37% of all bike fatalities involve alcohol, and 25% happen when drugs impair the bicyclist
- Only 7% of all bicycle fatalities occur when drivers operating motor vehicles are under the influence of alcohol and drugs
- Texas (65), Florida (138), and California (147) had the highest incident rate of bike fatalities nationwide in 2016, with no reported fatalities occurring in Hawaii or South Dakota that year
- February had the lowest monthly bike accident death rate in 2017
- Bicycle fatality statistics reveal that most fatalities occur between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM nationwide
- In 2017, more bike rider deaths occurred during August, September, and October nationwide than any other months of the year
- Statistics show that 65% of all motor vehicle-related bicycle accidents not occurring in intersections involved child fatalities
- Most bicycle accidents involving a vehicle happen within a mile of the cyclist’s home
- Data shows that approximately 35% (298) of bicycle deaths in 2019 happened at intersections, and the remaining 65% (545 deaths) occurred at non-intersections
- In 2019, 843 cyclists died in motor vehicle accidents in the United States, down approximately 3% from the previous year that had 868 bicyclist deaths
- In 2019, 760 of the 843 cyclist deaths occurred to victims 20 years or older, and the remaining 83 deaths affected victims under 20 years of age
- Nearly 65% of hit and run traffic fatalities kill cyclists and pedestrians
- Approximately 90% of all bicyclist deaths in 2019 occurred to victims over 19 years of age
- Males represented 85% of all bicycle accident-related deaths in 2019 in the U.S., compared to 15% for females
- About 78% (658) bicycle deaths were reported in urban areas between 1975 and 2019, compared to 22% (183 deaths) in rural areas
- Approximately 21% of all bike accident deaths where the cyclist was 16 years or older involved intoxication over the legal limit
- About 65% of all bike fatalities in 2019 happened on major roads that were not freeways are interstates, and 32% happened on city streets and roads
The NHTSA promotes bicycle safety through their bicycle safety month public awareness campaign, encouraging every motor vehicle driver to share the roadway with pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycles.
Participating in educational programs designed for children and students that promote traffic safety can prevent bicycle accidents and eliminate severe bicyclist injuries and deaths.
Bicycles and Motor Vehicle Crashes
Research shows that bicycling in dense urban environments is undeniably risky for the cyclist and other road users. Traveling by bike makes up an estimated 1% of daily travel in America. Many adults and children choose bicycling as the best recreational exercise and transportation form even with the inherent risks.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) traffic safety data is insufficient to identify the length of time the individuals ride their bikes, where they ride, or for how long. However, a 2017 report identified the 25 most dangerous cities in the United States for bicycling.
The most densely populated locations in 2017 that placed bicyclists at risk include:
- Albuquerque, New Mexico — 5 people were reportedly killed in bicycle accidents out of a population of 560,000 people
- Austin, Texas – Law enforcement reported two bicycle fatalities out of a population of 932,000 individuals
- Baltimore, Maryland – Law enforcement reported two bicyclists were killed out of a population of 622,000 individuals
- Charlotte, North Carolina – 2 bicycle fatalities were reported out of a population of 827,000 individuals
- Chicago, Illinois – 7 bicycle fatalities were reported out of a population of 2.7 million residents
- Columbus, Ohio – 4 cyclist deaths were reported out of a population of 850,000
- Denver, Colorado – 2 bike deaths were reported out of a population of 683,000
- Detroit, Michigan – Law enforcement reported one bicycle fatality out of a population of 677,000 residents
- Fort Worth, Texas – Police reported one fatality in a bicycle accident out of a population of 833,000 people
- Fresno, California – Police reported one bicycle-related fatality out of a population of 520,000 individuals
- Houston, TX– 5 bicycle fatalities were reported out of a population of 2.3 million people
- Jacksonville, Florida – 3 bike deaths were reported out of a population of 868,000
- Las Vegas, Nevada – 4 cyclist deaths were reported out of a population of 624,000 residents
- Los Angeles, California – 16 bicycle deaths were reported out of a population of 3.9 million people
- Memphis, Tennessee – 3 bicycle fatalities were reported out of a population of 656,000 individuals
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Police reported one bicycle fatality out of a population of 601,000 residents
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 7 individuals were reportedly killed in bike accidents out of a population of 1.5 million people
- Phoenix, Arizona – 8 bike deaths were reported out of a population of 1.56 million individuals
- Portland, Oregon – Law enforcement reported two bicyclists were killed out of a population of 633,000
- San Antonio, TX– 4 bike deaths were reported out of a population of 1.47 million people
- San Diego, California – Police reported three bicyclists killed out of a population of 1.4 million individuals
- San Francisco, California – 4 bicyclist fatalities were reported out of a population of 865,000
- San Jose, California – Law enforcement reported five bicyclist fatalities out of a population of 1.03 million people
- Seattle, Washington– Law enforcement reported one bicycle fatality out of a population of 685,000 people
- Tucson, Arizona – Police reported four bicyclists killed out of a population of 532,000 people
Bicycle Accidents: Frequent Causes of Bicycle-related Injuries
In 2012, the NHTSA released its national Survey of Bicyclists and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors, identifying the most common causes of bicycle injuries that include:
- Approximately 4% of bicycle crashes occurred in the reportable year when the bicyclist encountered a dog
- Nearly 7% of all bicycle crashes were the result of a collision or crash involving another vehicle or object
- About 13% of bicycle accidents that year involved rider mistakes due to inattention
- Approximately 13% of all bicycle crashes that year were the result of a road or walkway in disrepair
- Close to 17% of all bicycle accidents that year were the result of the bicyclist falling
- About 29% of all bicycle crashes that year involved being hit by a vehicle
- Approximately 18% of all bicycle accidents occurred when a motorist failed to see the cyclist
- Nearly 24% of all bicycle accidents occur when the cyclist failed to stop at a stop sign or ran a red light
- Nearly 22% of all bicyclists were injured when a motorist or passenger open the vehicle’s door (dooring accident)
- Either the bicyclist or motorist could be cited for violating traffic ordinances when failing to yield to oncoming traffic
- Major contributing factors in traffic crashes involving bicycles include speeding, inattention, distraction, aggressive behavior, and traveling through construction zones
- Bicyclists can increase their protection and safety when sharing the roadway by obeying all traffic laws, wearing protective gear, including a helmet, and remaining alert and attentive
Many accidents could be prevented if bicyclists and motorists share the road and assume equal responsibility for following traffic safety laws. Motorists must yield to a bicycle as they would any other vehicle and never underestimate the bicyclist’s speed.
Any motorist turning right on a red light should ensure no bicyclist is approaching the intersection on the right side and come to a complete stop before making a “right on a red” turn. Obeying the speed limit, reducing speed based on roadway conditions, and driving defensively can prevent all accidents, including those with bicyclists.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Even a simple bike accident can cause various injuries that are severe and long-lasting. Any injury could lead to a severe infection or traumatic brain injury if the victim were not wearing a helmet. Typical bicycle crash injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Tetraplegia, quadriplegia, or paraplegia (complete or partial paralysis)
- Road rash
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Permanent scarring
- Cuts and lacerations
- Tissue injuries involving tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- Fractured bones
- Leg, arm, or hip bone breaks
- Internal organ damage
- Back injuries
- Dislocated joints
- Nerve injuries
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons cites that bicycling accounts for most emergency room trauma visits at nearly double the rate as football-related concussions and injuries. Bicycling is the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in children under 15 years of age, nearly double the injury rate as football, baseball, softball, basketball, and skateboarding.
Bike Accidents and Bicycle Helmet Use in the United States
The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute reports that the District of Columbia, 21 states, and over 200 municipalities/counties have enacted child helmet laws that primarily cover bicyclists 15 years old and younger. Only 13 states have not enacted local or state bicycle helmet laws.
Data shows that wearing a helmet could reduce the risk of a traumatic brain injury or severe head injury by more than 50%.
Other national statistics on accidents and bike helmet use include:
- Studies show that helmet use could reduce the risk of injury to the neck, face, or skull by 33%
- Legislative helmet laws increase the odds of a bicyclist wearing a helmet by more than 400%
- In 2017, approximately 60% of all bicyclist crash deaths involved not wearing a helmet
- Approximately 41% of survey respondents said they wear a helmet all the time or nearly all the time compared to 39% who say they wear it all the time, and 36% saying only sometimes
- Over 62% of all bicycle fatalities involved victims not wearing bicycle helmets
- One survey reported that 43% of respondents believed there were local laws in their community to use a helmet, compared to 32% that did not know and 26% that thought no law existed
- A published survey identified 87% of respondents favoring bike helmet laws for children and 63% believing wearing bicycle helmets should be the law for adults
- About 50% of all surveyed bicyclist say they do not own a helmet and 43% believe that wearing a helmet is uncomfortable
- Approximately 25% of all surveyed bicyclist say that they forget to wear their helmet, and 15% believe that bicycle helmets do not provide much protection against accidents
- Only 5% of surveyed bicyclists say that they do not need to wear a helmet, and 11% say that wearing a helmet obstructs their vision
- Nearly 60% of surveyed bicyclists believe that helmets protect children against traumatic brain injuries, and only 60% of bicyclists believe that helmets protect against head injuries for adults
- Approximately 75% of all fatal traumatic brain injuries involving children could have been prevented if the cyclist had worn a helmet
- Nearly 39% of all surveyed bicyclist say that wearing a helmet is too hot, and 27% say that they do not like how they look when wearing one
- Less than 10% of all surveyed bicyclists reported that they had received bicycling safety guidance in the last five years
- The severity of injuries could be significantly reduced if the child cyclist is wearing a helmet that is correctly fitted to their head shape and size
Only 28% of all bicyclists surveyed stated that they wear a helmet on every ride, compared to 46% that never wear a helmet, 8% who wear one only intermittently, 7% that wear a helmet sometimes, 5% who wear a helmet most of the time, and 6% that wear one nearly all the time.
In 2019, 520 victims who died in a bike accident were not wearing helmets compared to 127 helmet-wearing victims. The 2019 report did not identify if the remaining 196 victims were wearing helmets or not.
Don’t Be a Statistic. Hire a Bicycle Accident Injury Attorney to Handle Your Compensation Case
Were you injured in a bicycle accident, or did you lose a loved one through wrongful death by another’s negligence? Did your child suffer a traumatic brain injury from a preventable bike accident?
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC provide legal advocacy for families involved in a bicycle accident resulting in injuries or fatality. Contact our law office today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Our legal team understands that not all families have sufficient funds to hire an attorney. Because of that, we accept all wrongful death lawsuits and personal injury cases through contingency fee agreements, meaning no fees are required until we have successfully resolved your case through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.
Our law offices are currently following CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Covid-19 (coronavirus epidemic) social distancing guidelines to ensure our clients’ safety.