While cycling to work or anywhere else can be a great way to burn calories and help reduce your carbon footprint, statistics show cycling is becoming an increasingly dangerous form of transportation, particularly in major cities. Vice reports that, across the nation, bike-related fatalities have risen 25 percent since 2010, while all other types of roadway fatalities have actually decreased.
Furthermore, bike-related deaths rose 10% in 2018 alone, raising important questions about what is causing the increase and what cities and towns can do to keep their bicyclists safe.
Los Angeles statistics
While cyclists can suffer injuries and fatalities in any type of environment, research shows that bikers in major urban areas face the highest risk. About 75% of all cyclist deaths in the United States take place in major cities, and Los Angeles is one of the cities that sees some of the highest bike fatality rates in the nation.
In 2015, for example, 17 cyclists lost their lives in bike wrecks on Los Angeles roadways. In 2018, however, the city saw 21 bike-related fatalities, despite city launching an initiative intended to help slash the number of bike-related deaths by 2025 three years prior. What is causing so many injuries and fatalities within today’s biking community?
Part of the problem, some safety advocates and legislators assert, is that many cities have bike lanes that offer minimal protection for cyclists. Without necessary protections, cyclists run a higher risk of suffering injuries due to “dooring,” which is something that can occur when a motorist opens his or her door and strikes a biker traveling past. In San Francisco alone, dooring caused more than 200 cyclist deaths between 2012 and 2015.
To help reduce this number, the city began posting clearer signage to alert drivers of the dangers of sharing the road and made better-designed bike paths that help protect the city’s cycling community. Some states have also stiffened penalties against drivers who come in contact with bicyclists.