When you hear that traffic fatalities in the United States have declined, you probably assume that cyclist fatalities have gone down as well. It's all related and general safety on the road extends to everyone, right?
That makes sense, but the statistical trends actually show that the two can move in opposite directions.
For example, from 2008 to 2017, the United States saw a decline of 0.8% in total traffic deaths. That was a slight decline, but it's still a decline. Over the same stretch of time, though, the total amount of deaths involving cyclists and pedestrians went up by 31%. Not only is that a massive increase, but it goes completely against the overall trend.
Or, for another perspective, consider that 12.6% of the total traffic deaths in 2003 were either cyclists or pedestrians. Fast forward to 2017, and those two groups made up 18.2%. Again, it's getting more dangerous.
What does that look like in real-world numbers? A total of 783 cyclists died in car accidents in 2017, along with 5,977 pedestrians.
You can take a lot of things away from these statistics, including the fact that motorists do not seem to be able to share the road safely with those who have far less protection than they do -- and who are therefore far more vulnerable. The real key, though, is to know that you face increasing risks every time you take your bike out on the road.
If you get injured in an accident, it can lead to massive medical bills and other costs. You may be able to seek out financial compensation.