April 19, 2023
New studies show that American roads are becoming more treacherous – and Los Angeles is ground zero for cycling risk.
Cycling is booming in the United States, as the COVID-19 pandemic created countless new converts to the cause – something that spurred many cities to invest in infrastructure to support the trend.
However, this rise in cycling has seen a parallel bump in cycling fatalities. According to a recent study published by Jerry, a direct-to-consumer insurance company, the total number of cycling fatalities has increased a staggering 58% between 2011 and 2021.
Analysts at Jerry reviewed more than 8,000 fatal crash records from the National Highway Transportation Association while also analyzing population data from major metropolitan areas.
That data didn’t just reveal more dangerous roads, however. It also indicated that the danger level for cyclists is largely dependent on where they do their pedaling.
Which Cities are the Most Dangerous for Cyclists?
If you’re a California resident, the results of Jerry’s research are doubly troubling. New York City and Los Angeles saw the most cycling deaths from 2011 through 2020. The New York City and Los Angeles metropolitan areas, a stretch of coastal South Florida from Palm Beach to Miami, and the Phoenix and Tucson areas in Arizona ranked among the deadliest large metro regions on a per capita basis.
What is Driving This Trend?
So why are cycling fatalities on the rise? Some point to the increase in distracted driving, as more and more drivers use smartphones while behind the wheel. Others note the trend toward larger vehicles, which can deliver more force to cyclists in the event of an accident. Whatever the cause, it’s clear that more needs to be done to address the issue and make our roads safer for cyclists.
What Can We Do to Stay Safe?
One way to address the issue is through better infrastructure. Cities can invest in bike lanes, paths, and other measures to help separate cyclists from vehicle traffic and reduce the risk of accidents. Additionally, more can be done to increase public awareness of the risks faced by cyclists and encourage safer driving practices.
Cyclists can also help themselves by always wearing protective gear, including a helmet, and obeying all traffic laws, while staying visible to motorists by wearing bright clothing and using lights and reflectors. Situational awareness is also critical, keeping an eye out for potential hazards and watching how others behave while sharing the road with you.
Ultimately, however, the onus should not be on cyclists to protect themselves. We need a combination of commitment from political leaders, enforcement of existing laws designed to protect cyclists and better infrastructure if we want to make California roads safer in 2023 and beyond.
Gary Brustin is a lifelong cyclist and a specialist in bicycle accident law. In fact, these are the only types of cases he accepts. If you’ve been injured in a collision, we urge you to contact Gary for a complimentary consultation.