Bicyclists' deaths on the rise
The number of U.S. cyclists killed in crashes rose by more than 16 percent in two years, according to a new study by the Governor’s Highway Association.
Alan Williams, a highway safety consultant who conducted the study, said that from 2010 to 2012, bicyclist deaths rose from 621 to 722 and that the vast majority of those killed were adult males. In 1975, only 21 percent of bicyclists who died were adults, compared to 84 percent in 2012.
Williams noted that the main reason for the increase is that more people are riding bikes in urban areas. Almost 70 percent of the cycling deaths were in urban areas in 2012, compared to 50 percent in 1975. More than half of all incidents reported occurred in states with big cities such as California, New York and Illinois.
The researchers found that although the decision to cycle has been a health-conscious one, there seemed to be a gap in the concern for safety. Of the deaths calculated in 2012, only 17 percent of those killed were wearing a helmet. Of the same group, a surprising number of the cyclists killed were legally drunk--almost 30 percent of them.