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Cyclists Are Dying at Record Rates in American Cities


In a recent report from the League of American Bicyclists, statistics showed that more bicyclists were killed in the U.S. in 2016 than in any year since 1991. The report compiled data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which found that a total of 840 cyclists were killed in 2016.

Federal investigations indicate that the total number of cyclists killed each year tends to range from anywhere between 600 and 800. However, the average death toll has risen in recent years, totaling close to 800 between 2006 and 2016.

This news has come as more American cities have attempted to Sweden-inspired Vision Zero initiatives, which aim to eliminate biker and pedestrian fatalities. New York, Denver, Austin, and Los Angeles have all outlined similar plans for new bike lanes, better signage, and bike-friendly roads and designs in an attempt to make city life safer for cyclists.

However, as well-intentioned as these initiatives are, many cities are having a difficult time getting them to take hold. For instance, Los Angeles has seen a 5% increase in cyclist and pedestrian deaths in the 3 years since they announced Vision Zero plans. Jennifer Boldry, research director at cyclist advocate group, People for Bikes, has indicated Los Angeles is a microcosm of a larger trend. “The bicyclist fatality rate [deaths divided by the total number of cyclists] is up an average of 2 percent a year over the past five years,” claims Boldry.

Part of this may be because there are more cyclists on the road overall. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the 840 cyclists killed on 2016 were part of the 863,979 Americans who claimed they regularly used their bicycle for their commute. This is up from the 772 cyclists killed out of 623,039 bike commuters in 2006. The Department of Transportation also shows a higher number of registered vehicles and miles driven nationwide, indicating that the number of motorists on the road may be a contributing factor as well.

Others, however, have suggested that the problem continues to be with the way cities are laid out and urban transportation modes are normalized. “In the 21st century, a new city ideal has emerged of a more bike-friendly, walking-oriented city,” writes John Rennie Short of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. “But piecemeal implementation of bike lanes, pedestrianized zones, and traffic calming measures often just adds to the confusion. Many bike lanes and pedestrianized zones only extend for short distances. Most American drivers have yet to fully appreciate that urban streets are to be shared. And even in the best of times, cars and trucks are not good at sharing the road.”

Defend Your Right to the Road, with Belushin Law Firm

At Belushin Law Firm, P.C., we believe that cyclists have as much right to the road as anybody. Our Brooklyn bicycle accident lawyers have been fighting for the rights of the inured since 2002, and have the skills and resources needed to take your case. We have secured millions of dollars in results for our clients over the years, and offer free consultations, so you feel completely comfortable before committing to anything. If you or someone you know has recently been inured while riding a bike, hire a firm that will argue for compensation and advocate for your rights as a cyclist. Hire Belushin Law Firm today.

We are available by phone now at (888) 918-9890, or you can contact us online 24/7.

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