Cycling has increased in popularity in recent years, with more people out on the roads and more bike lanes popping up all over Los Angeles and around California. You might assume that with more cyclists on the road, the number of crashes involving bicycles would potentially decrease.
After all, more cyclists would mean more reason for drivers to pay attention to self-propelled vehicles in traffic. Unfortunately, traffic statistics from last year and early reports in 2022 seem to indicate that the opposite may have occurred.
Are fatal cycling crashes on the rise in California?
California saw a big increase in traffic fatalities in 2021
Crash statistics are one of the best ways to track safety concerns for cyclists. What the data shows in the last few years is certainly cause for concern. While the final data for 2021 isn’t out yet, the overall increase in traffic deaths in the first nine months of 2021 paints a grim picture where traffic deaths increased by more than 17%.
So too do recent news stories, including hit-and-run crashes involving cyclists and even a cyclist death caused by a motorcycle police officer. Although the crash data does not include cycling specifically, it is likely that cyclists and pedestrians saw an increase in fatalities similar to the increase in overall traffic deaths.
The current year has already seen numerous notable cycling collisions already, both injurious and fatal. For every fatal crash, there could be dozens of collisions between bicycles and vehicles that lead to serious injuries for the cyclists.
How can you protect yourself from rising risks on the roads?
Cycling is certainly dangerous when you have to share the roads with vehicles, especially because the people in cars rarely suffer injuries when they hit bikes or pedestrians. You shouldn’t have to abandon the sport that you love or the form of transportation that you feel is most environmentally-friendly out of concern for your safety.
Thankfully, there are ways for you to reduce your risk while cycling in public. These include choosing routes with marked bike lanes, investing in good safety and visibility gear, consistently following traffic laws and engaging in defensive driving tactics, like assuming that drivers don’t notice you when you stop at an intersection. Employing safe biking habits and knowing your rights can help you limit your risk of a serious bicycle accident.