Roadway improvements have been shown to reduce crashes.
Each year about 2 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists. In a majority of bicyclist deaths, the most serious injuries are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet.
Sacks, J.J.; Holmgreen, P.; Smith, S.M.; and Sosin, D.M. 1991. Bicycle-associated head injuries and deaths in the United States from 1984 through 1988. How many are preventable? Journal of the American Medical Association 266(21):3016-8.
Helmet use has been estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85 percent.
Thompson, R.S.; Rivara, F.P.; and Thompson, D.C. 1989. A case-control study of the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets. New England Journal of Medicine 320:1361-67.
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have helmet use laws applying to young bicyclists; none of these laws applies to all riders. Local ordinances in a few states require some or all bicyclists to wear helmets. A nationwide telephone survey estimated that state helmet use laws increase by 18 percent the probability that a rider will wear a helmet.
Rodgers, G.B. 2002. Effects of state helmet laws on bicycle helmet use by children and adolescents. Injury Prevention 8:42-46.
Helmets are important for riders of all ages, not just young bicyclists. Eighty-four percent of bicycle deaths are persons 20 and older. During the past few years, no more than 17 percent of fatally injured bicyclists were wearing helmets.
The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
A total of 741 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2013, a 2 percent increase from 2012. Bicyclist deaths were down 26 percent since 1975. In 2013, 84 percent of bicylist deaths were age 20 or older. Deaths among bicyclists younger than 20 have declined 86 percent since 1975, while deaths among bicyclists 20 and older have increased 195 percent. In every year since 1975, many more male than female bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles. The decline since 1975 among female bicyclists (46 percent) was larger than the decline among male bicyclists (22 percent).
Sixty-three percent of bicyclists killed in 2013 reportedly were not wearing helmets; helmet use was unknown for 20 percent. Information on helmet use among bicyclists in fatal crashes became available in 1994.
It is estimated that 21 percent of bicyclists age 16 and older who were killed in 2013 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent. Imputations for missing BACs were provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation's multiple imputation model beginning in 1982.
Bicyclist deaths in 2013 were highest during the months of June, August and September (12 percent, 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively) and lowest during the months of January and February (5 percent and 4 percent respectively).
Bicyclist deaths in 2013 peaked during the hours from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (21 percent).
In 2013, 68 percent of bicyclists were killed in urban areas, comabered with 32 percent in rural areas. In 1975, bicyclist deaths occurred about equally in rural and urban areas.
Thirty-eight percent of bicyclist deaths in 2013 occurred at intersections.
Sixty-one percent of bicyclist deaths in 2013 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, and 35 percent occurred on minor roads. Deaths of bicyclists younger than age 20 were more likely to occur on minor roads compared with deaths of bicyclists age 20 and older (42 percent vs 34 percent).
©1996-2014, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org
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