Whether you want to get some exercise, relax or commute to work, biking is a great idea. It will get you moving and your blood circulation going, making you feel energized and refreshed.
Various bicycle safety statistics show that, as with everything, there is the other not-so-positive side. Unfortunately, biking is not always safe and there are many dangers to cycling.
The risk of an injury or fatal accident increases when people are unaware of the statistics related to bike safety and fail to follow the regulations. So, we rounded up the figures and rules you should know to help you stay safe on the road.
Bicycle Accident Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Over 20% of fatal bike accidents happen in the evening.
- There were over 1,000 cycling deaths in 2019.
- In 2019, 90% of cyclist casualties were 20 and older.
- Helmets can prevent half of the cycling-related head injuries.
- More women than men wear bike helmets.
- New York, Houston, and Los Angeles are the deadliest cities in the US for cyclists.
- Around 7% of brain injuries in the US occur due to bike crashes.
- Helmet use is obligatory in 22 US states.
General Bicycle Safety Statistics
1. 1,089 cyclists died in crashes in 2019.
Most of these biking fatalities, 712 to be precise, occurred due to a motor vehicle crash. The rest of them (377) lost their lives in some other incident. Additionally, seven times more men than women died in those accidents, and the trend unfortunately continues.
2. The number of bicycle accidents is lower in rural areas (22%) than in cities (78%).
The countryside proves to be a safer place for bike riders than urban areas. As the biking accident statistics show, there are four times higher chances of having a bike accident in urban than in rural areas. The most probable reason is less traffic in villages, thus fewer chances of being hit by a vehicle.
3. In 2019, most bicyclists died between 6 PM and 9 PM—177 of them.
Evenings were the most fatal for bikers in 2019, according to bicycle accident statistics. In fact, 21% of cyclists died during this time of day. On the other hand, the number was the lowest between 3 AM and 6 AM when only 6% of cyclists lost their lives in a crash.
4. 9 out of 10 cyclists who died in an accident in 2019 were 20-year-olds or older.
The number of cycling casualties from this age group is three times higher than in 1975. The bicycle death statistics also show that the number of male casualties has been increasing since 1975, leading to a much higher rate of men fatalities in crashes with vehicles. The same situation is with motorcycle accidents, where 90% of victims were men.
5. July and August record the highest percentage of bicycle fatalities, 12% and 11% respectively.
The summer months are the ones when most bike accidents happen. In fact, these are the least safe months for cyclists on the road. June is also a dangerous month, with around 10% of biking fatalities recorded.
Need-to-Know Bike Injury Statistics
6. Bike crashes cause about 7% of traumatic brain injuries in the US.
Head injuries are one of the most common consequences of cycling accidents. These range from hits or scratches to some very serious traumas, such as TBIs (traumatic brain injuries). As many statistics show, the number of these serious injuries is increasing, and the main reason is that cyclists aren’t using helmets.
7. Most at-risk groups of cycling accidents are 15- to 24-year-olds and 45-year-olds and older.
Accidents can happen to everyone. However, some groups are more prone to them. According to the bike crash statistics, those groups are young adults and people over 45. One of the potential reasons could be that they don’t pay as much attention to traffic as people from other age groups.
8. 21% of bike fatalities aged 16 and older have been tested positive for alcohol.
Drunk driving is a major problem on the roads nowadays, regardless of the type of vehicle. In fact, bike fatality statistics show that the alcohol concentration levels were 0.08% or higher.
Moreover, these numbers are especially worrying when other drunk driving statistics are considered. They show that the number of fatal traffic accidents increased by 9% from 2019 to 2020. Based on this fact, we can only assume that the upward trend will continue in the following years.
9. In 2019, 40 cyclists aged 14 and younger died in bike accidents.
Shocking biking statistics show the number of children cyclists who lost their lives in biking crashes. In 2019, 5% of all bike accident casualties were 14-year-olds and younger. The majority of them were boys (35). The same report also gives the number of injured cyclists from the same age group, which is 11 children per 100,000 people.
10. 82.3% of injured or killed cyclists have been hit by the front of a vehicle.
Out of the total number of bicycle accidents per year, the majority has happened when the front of a vehicle hit cyclists. Most fatal single-vehicle crashes involved light trucks or passenger cars. In 2019, 303 accidents occurred with light trucks and 277 with cars. This goes to show that when in traffic, cyclists should be cautious around these two types of vehicles to reduce the possibility of a crash.
11. Bike accident statistics show that only 27% of accidents happen at intersections.
Contrary to the general opinion that they are the most dangerous for bikers, less than 30% of bike crashes occur at intersections. Most accidents (63%) happen on roadways and the rest (10%) in some other place. From this, it is clear that the roadways, not intersections, are the least safe for cyclists.
Bicycle Helmet Statistics
12. Bike helmets can prevent more than 50% of head injuries.
(Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Experts continually explore ways to improve the safety of people on the roads. One of the best precautionary measures cyclists can employ to be safer when riding their bikes is to wear helmets. Statistics show that more than half of head traumas could be prevented with the use of this piece of protective gear.
13. 62% of bike fatalities haven’t used helmets.
As many bike helmet safety statistics prove, bike helmets can significantly reduce the number of injuries and deaths in the event of a crash. However, despite all these facts, people tend not to use them. Moreover, the status is unknown for 23% of victims. The question remains how many of these lives would have been saved if they had worn it.
14. Women are more likely to wear helmets than men.
According to the bicycle usage statistics, more women (28%) than men (21%) use helmets regularly when riding their bikes. Even though the difference is not extreme, it’s an interesting fact because we can see the view on helmet use by both genders.
15. 88% of injured children cyclists weren’t using helmets.
This leaves only 12% of children from the same age group and exact situation who were using helmets. Many injuries probably could have been avoided by using the protective gear.
Interesting Bicycle Statistics by State
16. 22 states in the US require mandatory helmet use.
Helmet laws differ among the US states. In fact, 13 states do not require wearing a helmet. Furthermore, bike helmet laws target riders younger than 18.
17. Most American cyclists die in New York, Los Angeles, and Houston.
The US has rather high fatality rates of cyclists, with some cities being more dangerous than others. According to the bicycle accident statistics by state, the three cities with the most biking casualties are New York (214), Los Angeles (267), and Houston (256). On the other hand, some cities haven’t reported having cycling deaths. Those are Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Nashville, among others.
18. Biking instead of driving saves the most money in New York, Boston, and Chicago.
There are many reasons biking is amazing. However, the most popular one is that it can save you some money. Many bicycle facts state that if you used a bike instead of a car, you could save $27 in New York, $17 in Chicago, and $16 in Boston on parking alone. This makes the daily commute considerably cheaper.
19. In Sweden, more than 1,000 cyclists suffer from and are treated for head injuries every year.
Cycling is quite popular in Sweden. There are about 1,500 bicycles on the streets of Stockholm only. Even though this city is safe for cyclists, accidents occur. Some bicycle safety statistics show that more than a thousand people have to be treated for head injuries every year. Based on the stats and facts listed above, we can assume that a number of these traumas could have been prevented with the use of helmets.
20. Utrecht (77.84%), Munster (65.93%), and Antwerp (60.51%) have the highest cycling rates in Europe.
The Netherlands and Denmark are the leading European countries regarding the number of cyclists on their streets, bicycle statistics show. These two countries have a well-developed network of bike trails and are safe for riding. Therefore, they are perfect for all bike enthusiasts out there.
The Bottom Line
Safety is and should always be the number one priority in traffic. Although you can’t avoid all injuries, you can prevent some of them by following the rules and recommendations.
In this article, you can see how important it is to wear a helmet, not drink while riding and pay attention to the road. By respecting these guidelines, you can protect yourself and the people around you.
People Also Ask
How common are bicycle accidents?
Bicycle accidents are quite common, although it is difficult to give an exact number of crashes as many of them aren’t documented by the police. It is estimated that around 932 bicyclists were killed in motor-vehicle traffic crashes in 2020, which means that 2% of all traffic deaths resulted from bike crashes. Yet, the number of injuries that happen for the same reason is even greater.
How many head injuries are caused by cycling each year?
Head traumas are one of the common injuries caused by bike crashes. In fact, bicycle accidents are the No. 1 cause of traumatic brain injuries in the US, and around 60% of cycling fatalities occur due to a head injury. When it comes to non-fatal injuries, around 30% are to the head. However, as mentioned in the article, more than half of those could be prevented if people regularly wore bike helmets.
What are the major challenges for bicycle safety?
Getting hit by a vehicle is the number one thing threatening the safety of cyclists, as there are usually not enough bike lanes in the cities. Another reason is that a driver or rider isn’t focused enough on the road. This carelessness leads to a crash.
Additionally, a major challenge is the poor quality of roads. Potholes, rocks, and gullies can be very dangerous for bike riders. It’s easy to fall and hurt yourself when riding in such conditions.
How many bicycle accidents are there a year?
Since not every bicycle accident is reported to the police, many minor ones aren’t documented. Therefore, it’s not possible to say how many bike crashes occur every year. However, as we already said in the article, it is estimated that there are more than 1,000 cycling fatalities per year. Most of them happen as a result of a crash with a vehicle, and only a small percentage of bike accidents occur in some other circumstances.
How many cyclists died in 2020?
In 2020, we saw something called the “bike boom.” Due to the pandemic, many people chose or were forced to ride bikes everywhere. This led to an increased number of cyclists on the roads. Unfortunately, statistics show that the number of biking fatalities also rose. During that year, around 700 people lost their lives in bike crashes in the US alone.
Is biking or driving safer?
This question is debatable, as some believe driving is safer and others disagree. Cars have some safety features which bikes lack, such as seatbelts, airbags, and steel framework. However, they travel at a higher speed, thus making the impact stronger in the event of a crash. On the other hand, an increase in cycling casualties and injuries is worrying, according to bicycle safety statistics. Therefore, it’s difficult to say which means of transportation is safer.