Bicycle Deaths

The estimated number of preventable deaths from bicycle transportation incidents has increased 28%, from 793 in 2010 to 1,015 in 2016. From 2015 to 2016 the number of deaths remained relatively stable, with 1,013 deaths in 2015. At the same time, the number of preventable nonfatal injuries has declined 22%, from 515,861 in 2010 to 404,346 in 2016.

Bicycle-related deaths peak in the summer months, starting in June, and they remain high through September. In 2016, the most deaths occurred in June (116) and the fewest in December (47).

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Of the 1,015 bicyclist deaths in 2016, 704 died in motor vehicle crashes and 311 in other incidents, according to National Center for Health Statistics mortality data. Males accounted for 86% of all bicycle deaths, over six 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, 840 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2016, a 1.3% increase from 829 in 2015. Bicyclists’ deaths accounted for 2.2% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 457,266 emergency department-treated injuries associated with bicycles and bicycle accessories in 2017 (link to sports page). 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 August 2018, 21 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 Aug. 10, 2018.

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, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 345-352.