Bicyclists and Other Cyclists: 2008 Data

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2008 Traffic Safety Facts: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists is now available on the NHTSA website.

While it’s always a little sobering to look at accident and fatality statistics, the good news is that the numbers are relatively low and fatalities have dropped over the past 10 years:

The number of pedalcyclist fatalities in 2008 is 6 percent lower than the 760
fatalities reported in 1998. The highest number of pedalcyclist fatalities ever recorded in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) was 1,003 in 1975. Pedalcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all nonoccupant traffic fatalities in 2008.

Deleware and Florida were the two most dangerous states for bicyclists with 6.97 and 6.82 fatalities per million population. Nebraska, South Dakota, and Vermont all had zero fatalities in 2008.

A surprising statistic is the number of bicyclists who were under the influence of alcohol when they were killed:

Over one-fourth (28%) of the pedalcyclists killed had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 g/dL or higher, and nearly one-fourth (23%) had a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher.

The NHTSA offers some safety tips at the end of the fact sheet that are worth noting (let’s not turn this into a helmet war, please):

Important Safety Reminders
All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.

Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators; they are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings. When cycling in the street, cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.

Drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with bicyclists. Be courteous — allow at least three feet clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road, look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space, and yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals. Be especially watchful for cyclists when making turns, either left or right.

Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn, and dusk. To be noticed when riding at night, use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.

View the Fact Sheet [PDF] →

Tim Donahoe’s Endless Summer Entry

Monica Laplander’s Endless Summer Entry

In September, my husband and I ventured on a 5 day tour along the northern coast of California, from the town of Manchester to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, where we attended the Power to the Peaceful festival. This picture was taken during our lunch break in the town of Gualala, our destination for day one.

Monica Laplander, Sacramento, CA

Tamia Nelson’s Endless Summer Entry

Thirty-five miles into a leisurely 40-mile day trip to explore and photograph a route over a remote northern Adirondack mountain, we stopped alongside a trout stream to picnic and stretch out in the cool shade. On such a day is seems as if summer will go on forever. The cold spring-fed stream chortled just beyond the roadside pull-off, its banks made colorful by wildflowers. No cloud and no contrail marred the cerulean sky. The road was empty of motor vehicles, and not one sound of human occupation could be heard. I wanted to linger under the spreading canopy of green leaves, taking in the view, enjoying the companionship of warblers and chickadees flitting in the shrubbery on their own search for lunch.

When I went through the photos afterwards, I realized that the water bottle’s legend — “Espace Découvertes” — was just what my husband and I had been doing, discovering open spaces. What better way to spend a summer day?

It’s great fun looking at the terrific photos folks are sending in. So varied, yet at the same time, it’s clear we all share one thing: the love of bikes and cycling.

Thanks much, Tamia
Tamia Nelson’s Outside Up North

Scott Elliott’s Endless Summer Entry

My last hurrah at summer’s twilight, a fling of sorts. It’s a 1975 Fuji “Special Tourer” I found at a local Salvation Army Thrift Store for a penny shy of thirty bucks. I dressed it up for my daily commute. About to face my first Michigan winter, it was one of few ways I could think of to ensure slightly brighter days against the otherwise grey backdrop. And now it doubles as my first contest entry.

Scott S. Elliott
Hadrian on a Bicycle

John Jancewicz’s Endless Summer Entry

A Remarkable Woman

For the past 26 years, 84-year-old Lan Yin “Eiko” Tsai has ridden her 1-speed bike 150 miles in New Jersey’s City to Shore multiple sclerosis fundraiser. Read about her at CNN

© 2011 EcoVelo™