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Fatal Bicycle Crashes On the Rise: 5 Facts You Should Know

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

Biking can be a healthy and ecologically friendly alternative to driving. But bicyclists should be aware that the number of fatal bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles is on the rise.

Between 2010 and 2012, the number of U.S. bicyclists killed in accidents involving motor vehicles rose by 16 percent, reports the Los Angeles Times. The numbers come from a report by the nonprofit Governor's Highway Safety Association.

What else did the GHSA's report have to say about fatal bicycle crashes? Here are five facts you should know:

  1. More than 700 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2012. According to the GHSA's report, 722 bicyclists were killed in accidents involving automobiles in 2012, up 6 percent from 680 fatalities the previous year. That's also 16 percent more than the 621 bicyclists killed in 2010.
  2. More than two-thirds of bicyclists killed weren't wearing helmets. A majority of those killed in bike crashes weren't wearing helmets. Although many states have laws requiring minors to wear helmets while riding bikes, wearing a helmet is generally not required by state or federal law for adults; however, local laws may require helmets in some jurisdictions.
  3. More than one-fourth of bicyclists killed were drunk. According to the report, 28 percent of bicycle riders killed in motor vehicle crashes had blood alcohol concentrations over the legal limit.
  4. Nearly 9 in 10 bicycle fatality victims are adult males. Men make up the overwhelming majority of those killed in bicycle accidents, with 88 percent of those killed in 2012 being men.
  5. Accidents are increasingly concentrated in urban areas. Fatal accidents are also increasingly occurring in urban areas. According to the report, 69 percent percent of fatal bike accidents occurred in urban areas in 2012, compared to only 50 percent of fatal accidents in 1975.

To learn more about bicycle crashes and injuries, head over to FindLaw's Learn About the Law section on Bike Accidents.

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