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A glance at the dangers of cycling in national statistics

People who enjoy cycling in California know that safety is a serious concern when sharing the roads with cars, pedestrians and other vehicles. The statistics show that cycling is inherently dangerous and carries with it a danger of fatality far greater than any other means of transportation. While bike trips account for only about 1% of all trips taken in the U.S., bicycle accident fatalities account for 2% of all traffic fatalities. So the dangers of cycling are very real and these figures illustrate the reasons why safety must come first when cycling.

In 2012, there were 726 bicycle rider deaths across the U.S. Perhaps surprisingly, nearly 90% of these deaths involved male cyclists. The average age of cyclist fatality victims was 43, which is significantly higher than it was only a decade ago, when the average age was roughly 32.

It is also worth considering the details of these fatal bicycle accidents, such as the time of day, location and other factors. A whopping 69% of bike fatalities occur in urban areas, such as the busy streets of San Diego and the surrounding suburbs, where bicycles and cars often share the same crowded streets and busy intersections. In addition, 30% of bike accidents occur between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m., commonly known as rush hour as California. Not surprisingly, there is a higher percentage of fatal bike accidents that occur when the roads are busiest.

As the statistics hint, the dangers associated with sharing the roads with much larger vehicles can lead to an increase in bicycle deaths. In fact, nearly one-third of all bike injuries involve cars. When a bicyclist strikes a vehicle or vice-versa, a cyclist simply doesn't have the same level of protection from being thrown from the bike, crushed by a car or otherwise suffering broken bones and other serious injuries that can result in paralysis or death.

Cyclists should take these statistics into account when determining how to remain safe on busy San Diego streets. Those who are injured should contact an experienced personal injury attorney for information on how to potentially obtain compensation and hold those responsible for their injuries accountable.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, "Bike Statistics," accessed April 14, 2015

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