Riding a bicycle is good exercise and a convenient, environmentally-friendly way to get to work, school and around town generally. But as all riders know, reckless and overly aggressive drivers put riders in grave danger. And there are few “fender bender” level of bicycle accidents. Unlike a crash between two heavy vehicles with safety features like seatbelts and airbags, when a car strikes a bicycle, the rider has virtually nothing to protect themselves from impact.
This is a problem in every U.S. city, including Yuma. But some cities are especially dangerous for riders, as Axios reports.
The cities with the biggest jump in fatal bicycle accidents
Research by the League of American Bicyclists shows which major cities had the biggest increase in fatal bike accidents per one million residents in 2017-21 compared with 2012-16. Here are the top five. Yuma is not on the list, but another Arizona city is:
- New Orleans (9.9 fatalities, 11 percent increase)
- Tucson (8.9 fatalities, 31 percent increase)
- Jacksonville (7.9 fatalities, 25 percent increase)
- Jackson, Miss. (7.7 fatalities, 558 percent increase)
- Miami (7.7 fatalities, 28 percent increase)
As you can see, Tuscon, Arizona, is second on this per capita list. While larger cities likely have more bicycle fatalities in raw numbers, only one has more when controlling for population.
Why are the numbers rising?
Nationwide, deaths in bicycle accidents rose 5 percent over the same period. One possible reason is the increase in bicycle usage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many U.S. cities already lacked sufficient bike lanes and other safety precautions to protect riders and failed to provide reasonably safe roads to deal with the higher number of bikes.
Most riders do their best to protect themselves, but they are ultimately at the mercy of drivers not to speed, tailgate, or turn or change lanes without signaling. A driver who knowingly acts unsafely behind the wheel should be responsible for the consequences, including their victim’s lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.