California’s favorable climate makes cycling a popular means of transportation, and many California communities are adding bike lanes and similar infrastructure to encourage this type of travel. Unfortunately, the number of cyclists losing their lives on California’s roadways is entirely too high, raising important questions about what communities should do to protect their bike-riding citizens. 

According to California Healthline, the number of cyclists losing their lives is on the rise not only in California but nationally. On the national level, the three-year death rate for cyclists reached its highest rate since the mid-2000s between 2016 and 2018. In California, specifically, the number of cyclists losing their lives between 2016 and 2018 was at its highest in any three-year period since the mid-1990s. 

By the numbers 

Within the three-year span between 2016 and 2018, 455 cyclists lost their lives on California’s roadways, with the state seeing about 3.9 fatal bike crashes for every million residents. Nationally, 2,516 people lost their lives while riding bikes between 2016 and 2817, equating to about 2.6 deaths per every million people. 

Contributing factors 

So, just what might be to blame for the rising number of cyclist deaths occurring across California and the nation? For starters, there are now substantially more drivers sharing the roads than there were in the 1990s. Also, in-vehicle cellphone use and other distracted driving behaviors have become increasingly common in recent years, and this, too, likely plays a role in the rising number of cyclists losing their lives across America. 

Clearly, you should not, as a cyclist, count on other motorists to exercise care when navigating around you. You may be able to reduce your death or injury risk, however, by always wearing your helmet and making efforts to avoid biking on roadways during particularly busy times.