NHTSA’s 2008 Traffic Data report on Bicycling confirms what I’ve been saying – CYCLING IS SAFE!
Well, they don’t come right out and say that … but… let’s look at the numbers.
First, 716 deaths across the country. Is that a lot? Of course – ONE is a lot. However, compared to the 1005 deaths in 1975, that figure is pretty good. Further, there are a LOT more cars on the road today than 1975 so we’re seeing significantly fewer deaths [30% fewer] despite significantly higher “traffic density” [i.e., more cars per square inch]
Second, of those 716 deaths, some 40% occur in THREE states. The Big Three are Florida , California  and Texas . In Ohio, we had 17 deaths, or 2% of all cycling deaths nationwide.
Third, alcohol impairment was reported in more than ONE THIRD of all cycling fatalities. By not drinking and riding, your risk of a fatal bike crash goes WAY down.
Further, most [69%] fatal crashes occur in urban, not rural areas.
So, if you get on your bike in Ohio, take some time to enjoy some of the thousands of miles of great rural cycling roads throughout Ohio and don’t have a few drinks along the way your risk of a fatal crash is approaching single digits, I suspect.
ENJOY THE ROADS
Good Luck and Good Riding!
Steve Magas, The Bike Lawyer
It’s great to hear confirmation of something I wholeheartedly believe!
Also, less-than-great to hear confirmation of my hypothesis that Florida has to be the worst state in the union for cyclists. I spent a week there on vacation, and my experience indicated that the people of Florida are kind and generally exemplary human beings who nonetheless lost their minds completely whenever they get behind the wheels of their cars.
It must be the heat.
Great blog you’ve got, here.
THANKS for tracking me down! Florida is tough on cyclists for a number of reasons, I suspect. A lot of “more mature” drivers whose skills may be fading, a number of vacationers riding around willy nilly, lots of long, flat roads and great weather. Most of Ohio’s cycling crashes occur from April to October – Florida has high volume 12 months per year.
Came across this today. I add my voice to that of Asher in saying that it’s good to have confirmation of what I believe. Recently I’ve had the frustrating experience of having cyclists tell me (at http://www.therepublic.com/view/local_story/Letter_Cyclists_have_just_as_m_1331610502/?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150857058424196_25525403_10150857528829196#fc6e238080362) that cycling is so unsafe that we have a “responsibility” to get out of the way of cars for our own good. That’s nonsense, but it’s pervasive and corrupting nonsense.