Know The Facts About Bicycle Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2015 a total of 467,000 injuries were recorded as a result of a bicycle accident. A third of all bike-related injuries came from children and teens, and 75% of all bike accidents took place in an urban area. Most accidents took place on what are classified as "arterial roads", or multi-lane roads with stoplights at intersections. Common bike accident injuries include broken bones, neck and back injuries, and concussions.
Outside, a magazine that focuses on outdoor leisure activities such as cycling, has tracked bicycle accident statistics for the past few years as part of a campaign to improve road safety for cyclists. Unfortunately, the statistics they find are not good ones for bike riders. In 2020, for instance, they found that there were a total of 697 fatalities as a result of a cycling accident. While this was lower than 2019's bicycle accident fatality total, it is part of a larger trend of bicycle accident fatalities increasing year-over-year. In addition, Outside found that 25% of fatal cycling accidents were hit-and-run accidents, and 16% of them were caused by an intoxicated motorist.
A major factor in this increase in cycling accidents and fatalities is the size of cars on American roads. More and more car companies are ending production or sales of smaller hatchbacks or sedans and focusing on selling only crossovers, SUVs, and trucks. These vehicles are much heavier, have higher ground clearance, and have more hood/grille space than a standard sedan. Being higher up behind the wheel, drivers may not be able to see cyclists on the road, and when they strike a bicycle rider it is natural that bigger cars cause bigger accidents. In fact, the chance of a bicyclist dying in an accident with an SUV or truck is 50% greater than if they were in a collision with a sedan.
Illinois is usually one of the more dangerous states in America for cyclists. In a two-year period between 2010 and 2012, it ranked 12th in the nation in average annual cycling deaths per million residents with 2.2 deaths per million. It was the second-deadliest Midwestern state in this metric, trailing only Michigan (2.4 deaths/million), and ahead of other neighbors including Indiana (2 deaths/million), Wisconsin (1.9 deaths/million), Iowa (1.7), Kentucky (1.1) and Missouri (0.8). Its average cycling accident deaths per year in this period stood at 27, the highest in the Midwest.