Roadway improvements have been shown to reduce crashes.
Two percent of motor vehicle-related deaths are bicyclists. The most serious injuries among a majority of those killed are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. 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 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 phone 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, especially because 85 percent of bicycle deaths are persons 16 and older.
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 770 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2006. Bicyclist deaths were down 23 percent since 1975 but 23 percent more than in 2003. The decline among female bicyclists (49 percent) was larger than the decline among male bicyclists (18 percent).
Bicyclist deaths by gender, 1975-2006
Ninety-five percent of bicyclists killed in 2006 reportedly weren't wearing helmets.
Twenty-four percent of bicyclists killed in 2006 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent. This percentage is one-third higher than in 1982.
Bicyclist deaths in 2006 occurred most often during June-September and between the hours of 6pm and 9pm.
Deaths among bicyclists younger than 16 have gone down by 84 percent since 1975, while deaths among bicyclists 16 and older have more than doubled.
More than 7 times as many bicyclist deaths in 2006 were males compared with females. At every age more male than female bicyclists were killed and the rates of bicyclist deaths per million people were higher for males than females. The highest rate of bicyclist deaths per million people occurred for 50-54 year-old males.
Bicyclist deaths per million people by age and gender, 2006
Many more bicyclists were killed in urban areas than in rural areas in 2006 (71 percent compared with 27 percent). In 1975, bicyclist deaths occurred equally in rural and urban areas.
One-third of bicyclist deaths in 2006 occurred at intersections.
Sixty percent of bicyclist deaths in 2006 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, and 33 percent occurred on minor roads. Forty-six percent of deaths among bicyclists younger than 16 and 62 percent of deaths among bicyclists 16 and older occurred on major roads.
©1996-2014, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org
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