Rise in Bicycle Fatalities in U.S., Including California | Ellis Injury Law

Rise in Bicycle Fatalities in U.S., Including California

November 24, 2014

Ellis Law Corporation


Bicyclist fatalities are up In Los Angeles and throughout the country, concerning the personal injury lawyers at Ellis Law. Recent numbers from a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association shows that the number of cyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents has been on the rise in recent years, significantly outpacing fatalities in other types of auto crashes.

After a steady decline in bicycle fatalities since 1975, GHSA found that the number has been increasing since 2010. During that year, 621 cyclists were killed in motor vehicle accidents nationwide. In 2011 that number increased to 680 and in 2012 the number rose to 722. Those numbers indicate a 16 percent increase in cyclist fatalities during that time frame.

Increase correlates with more bicycles on road

That increase correlates with an increase in bicycle commuters, which has been on a steady rise since 2000. Many individuals are now bicycling to work, as governments are advocating bicycle use to reduce traffic tie-ups and emission issues. As more bicyclists are using this mode of transportation to get to work, the accident trend is moving into the urban environment. The GTSA found that 69 percent of bicycle fatalities occurred in cities in 2012, compared to just 50 percent in 1975.

Male cyclists continue to be more likely to be killed in a bicycle accident, with 88 percent of all fatalities occurring to males in 2012. Two-thirds of bicycle fatalities occurred to riders who were not wearing helmets in 2012, another relatively constant statistic over the years. However, the age of cyclists killed has fluctuated in recent years, with more than 84 percent of cyclists killed over the age of 20, versus just 21 percent in that age bracket in 1975.

Alcohol continues to be a concern in cycling tragedies, with 28 percent of killed cyclists over the age of 16 having a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. Unfortunately, that number continues to remain high even as alcohol-impaired drivers of motor vehicles involved in fatal accidents has experienced a drop. These numbers were observed even though cycling tends to be associated with healthy lifestyle choices.

California one of highest for bicycle fatalities

Six states, including California, made up more than half of all cycling fatalities between 2010 and 2012. The other five states were New York, Florida, Texas, Michigan and Illinois. Researchers noted that these states tend to have the highest populations, which could account for the higher percentage of cycling fatalities. However, the fact the fatal cycling accidents are increasing in urban areas could also account in part for these figures.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, more than 100 people are killed in cycling accidents in the state every year and thousands more suffer injuries. Some can be attributed to the cyclist, while others are the responsibility of the driver of the motor vehicle. Even though fatalities involving bicycles involve just over two percent of all the road fatalities in the U.S. every year, the numbers are concerning.

Even when cyclists observe the laws and ride with caution, accidents can sometimes occur. If you are a cyclist in a collision with a motor vehicle, you are much more likely to suffer serious injuries as a result. These types of accidents can change the lives of the cyclist and his entire family in some circumstances.

Protecting your rights

If you are injured in a California bicycle accident through no fault of your own, you have legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other non-economic losses. By filing a Los Angeles car accident lawsuit, you can pursue damages for those expenses that will help you heal from your injuries and get your life back on track.

The Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers at Ellis Law are experienced in representing cyclists that have been injured at the hands of motorists. We will protect your rights and ensure you get every bit of legal compensation you are entitled to. Contact us at 310-641-3335 to get a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.