On average, between 1 and 2 people die every day in the United States from bicycle accidents. This number accounts for about two percent of the number of people killed in traffic accidents in general. Obviously, the
number of injuries caused in bicycle accidents is certainly higher, hovering around 50,000 on average per year. The number of injuries only represents those that have been reported. The vast majority (up to 90%) of bicycle injuries go unreported to police. According to the National Safety Council, the total monetary cost of bicyclist injury and death on average is over $4 billion per year.

NHTSA Report from 2012

The latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA) is from 2012. The following statistics from from that report:

  • The average age of bicyclists killed in bike crashes was 43
  • The average age injured was 32
  • 88% of those killed were males
  • 69% of fatalities occurred in city areas
  • 51% of fatalities occurred between 4 and 11:59 p.m, 30% between 4 and 8 p.m.
  • Children 15 and younger accounted for only 9% of fatalities
  • 37% of bicycle-motor vehicle accidents resulting in the bicyclist’s death involved alcohol
  • California, Florida, and Texas had the highest number of bicyclist fatalities.
  • Utah had 3 reported bicyclist traffic fatalities in 2012.

Bicycle Travel in Perspective

726 people were killed while riding bicycles in 2012. This accounted for about 2% of traffic accident fatalities in that year. If we were to use that as an average, we might be optimistic at the low ratio of bicyclist deaths to motor vehicle fatalities.  However, we must take into consideration that bicycle trips represent only one percent of trips taken in the United States. This includes trips made by walking, commercial transportation, motorcycles and personal vehicles.  With this perspective in mind, we must understand the risk of traveling by bicycle.

Safety Reminders

  • Always wear a helmet. It is the single most important protection you can use to prevent a head injury while riding.
  • Obey traffic laws. As a bicyclist, you are considered a vehicle. That means stopping at stop lights and stop signs, signalling before turning, yielding to other vehicles who have the right-of-way, etc.
  • Use lights at night. As stated above, most accidents happen in the evening hours. Using reflectors and headlights/back lights can help alert drivers to your presence on the road.
  • Teach your children – You may know the rules of the road, but there’s a good chance your children don’t, unless you teach them. The NHTSA has provided a helpful safety guide toolkit that parents can use to help teach their children how to be safe while riding their bikes.

Information for avoiding, handling, and coping with bicycle accidents is out there—it’s just a matter of knowing where to find it. For example, you can get a free copy of the Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook offered by Christensen & Hymas at In addition to this resource, Christensen & Hymas offer a free initial consultation for those who have received injuries due to another’s negligence or who have lost a loved one in a cycling accident. If you or someone you know has been wrongfully injured, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Christensen & Hymas and our compassionate and experienced lawyers will help you learn about your options for financial compensation. 

Photo of Lance Armstrong provided by Wikimedia Commons.