OH EM GEEEE – THE SKY IS FALLING! er… well… maybe not so much

The Washington Post published an article with a headline that “Cycling Crash Deaths Are Soaring!”  What…? Wait a minute… soaring?  What numbers are they looking at?

The WP cites to a new report – from the Governors Highway Safety Association – called “A Right to the Road-Understanding and Addressing Bicyclist Safety.”  Did that report say cyclist deaths are “soaring?” What’s going on here…

Maybe a little bit of Chicken Little…

Why do I say that?

1. The worst year on record for cycling fatalities was 1975, when 1003 cyclists were killed on US roads. in 2015 we lost 818 cyclists in traffic crashes – so a 20% DECREASE from 1975.
2. 2015 WAS the worst recent year on record for cycling deaths with 818 as we had been trending 700-750.
But… remember …
 2015 was the worst year since 2008 for ALL traffic categories
So –>
The number of motorists, car drivers & passengers,  killed was way UP in 2015.
The number of motorcyclists killed was way UP in 2015.
The number of  pedestrians killed was was  UP in 2015.
The numbers were WAY UP in 2015 all across the board. 32,166 total traffic deaths in 2015 compared to 30,056 in 2014 a 7+% increase.
So yes, cycling deaths were up 12% in2015. But… I think we can agree that, in general, motorists did a very lousy job of driving cars in 2015. They crashed into each other more dramatically and more often and they crashed into pedestrians and motorcycles more often. It only makes sense that the most vulnerable users of the roads – cyclists and pedestrians – would bear the brunt of the impact.
3. In years where gas hits $4.00/gal [2015/2008] we would expect to see many folks turn to cycling for economic reasons.
4. Cycling deaths had declined each DECADE since the 70s
1970s – and 2000-2009 we averaged 705 cyclists killed in the USA annually.
5. Since 2010 the USA has been averaging 722 cyclists killed, so an uptick of 2%… which doesn’t sound quite as bad as the TWELVE PERCENT as the WashPost screamed at us…
But…
6. We are in the middle of a huge Bike BOOM – While we don’t have good, solid “How Many Riders on the Roads” numbers, we know that bikes continue to outsell cars… in Europe…
… and in the US…
 I think we can agree that that number is trending UP with an uptick in road riding, triathlon training, urban riding, infrastructure, etc etc etc… so why wouldn’t expect some type of increase – given the high volume of riders a jump
So … have cycling deaths increased? Yes – 2015 was horrible horrible year… here in Ohio and around the country. We had 25 cyclists killed in Ohio – almost 10 more than our average of 15-16. Traffic deaths were UP in every category in 2015… everywhere … but 2015 is just one year –  not a ‘trend’ – it’s a single data point – no matter how hard the Post screams it out…

 

Printed from: http://www.ohiobikelawyer.com/bike-law-101/2017/08/oh-em-geeee-the-sky-is-falling-er-well-maybe-not-so-much/ .
© 2017.

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