Bicycle Deaths

The estimated number of preventable deaths from bicycle transportation incidents remained unchanged from 2017 to 2018. However, deaths have increased 30% in the last 10 years, from 785 in 2009 to 1,024 in 2018. At the same time, the number of preventable nonfatal injuries has declined 44%, from 518,750 in 2009 to 289,076 in 2018.

Bicycle-related deaths peak in the summer months, starting in June, and they remain high through September. In 2018, the most deaths occurred in September (119) and the fewest in February (58).

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Of the 1,024 bicyclist deaths in 2018, 682 died in motor-vehicle crashes and 342 in other incidents, according to National Center for Health Statistics mortality data. Males accounted for 87% 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, 857 bicyclists were killed in motor-vehicle traffic crashes in 2018, a 6% increase from 806 in 2017. Bicyclists’ deaths accounted for 2% of all motor-vehicle traffic fatalitiesThe Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 424,350 emergency department-treated injuries associated with  bicycles and bicycle accessories in 2018. 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 January 2020, 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 January, 2020.

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.