Bicycle Deaths

The number of preventable deaths from bicycle transportation incidents increased 16% in 2020 and have increased 44% in the last 10 years, from 873 in 2011 to 1,260 in 2020. At the same time, the number of preventable nonfatal injuries has declined 39%, from 536,412 in 2011 to 325,173 in 2020. However, the number of preventable nonfatal injuries did increase 5% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Bicycle-related deaths peak in the warmer months, starting in May, and they remain high through October. In 2020, the most deaths occurred in August (157) and the fewest in February (53).

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Of the 1,260 bicyclist deaths in 2020, 806 died in motor-vehicle crashes and 454 in other incidents, according to National Center for Health Statistics mortality data. Males accounted for 89% of all bicycle deaths, over eight times the fatalities for females.

Explore preventable bicycle-related death and injury trends using this interactive chart.

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How to Use Injury Facts® Charts and Tables

The estimated number of bicycle-related injuries and fatalities varies depending on the data source. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 932 bicyclists were killed in motor-vehicle traffic crashes in 2020, an 8.9% increase from 856 in 2019. Bicyclists’ deaths accounted for 2% of all motor-vehicle traffic fatalities. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 425,910 emergency department-treated injuries associated with bicycles and bicycle accessories in 2020. This estimate includes both preventable and intentional injuries. The estimates provided in the interactive chart are limited to preventable fatal injuries only.

A meta-analysis of bicycle helmet efficacy by Attewell, Glase, and McFadden (2001) estimated that bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 60% and brain injury by 58%. As of March 2022, 22 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 201 localities had bicycle helmet-use laws, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.

Sources:

National Safety Council estimates and tabulations of National Center for Health Statistics mortality data obtained via WISQARS. Population data for rates are from the U.S. Census Bureau. Data from Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute retrieved March 2022.

National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) All Injury Program, Office of Statistics and Programming, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Consumer Product Commission.

Attewell, R.G., Glase, K., & McFadden, M. (2001). Bicycle helmet efficacy: A meta-analysis. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 33(3), 345-352.