Weather in the Southwest is almost always perfect for biking and many California residents make the absolute best of it. It is common to see people riding on not just designated trails but busy streets. While most women tend to keep their riding to designated areas, men are a little more daring.
U.S. News reported earlier this year that cycling fatalities reached a 25-year high in the Golden State. However, California is not the only state affected. The figures are rising all across the country.
From 2016 to 2018, 455 cyclists died in California traffic accidents. This translates to roughly 3.9 bike fatalities in every group of one million people. The last time California saw numbers this high was before the cities started to build designated lanes and areas for cyclists. Across America, the numbers are much lower but nonetheless reflect a continued increase. Experts worry it might only continue to get worse.
Researchers propose several reasons for these increases. For starters, Americans have been driving more in recent years than before and distracted driving is becoming worse. To make matters worse, crossovers are replacing cars at an alarming rate and drivers show a trend of sizing up to big trucks and SUVs. Finally, increased popularity in riding means more cyclists on the roads.
While fatalities affect both men and women, men die at much higher rates. ABC 10 estimates male cyclist fatalities at eight times that of women. One reason for this is that there are more men on bikes than women. As alluded to earlier, women also tend to stick to safer routes.
California cities and several others across the country are doing their best to address this issue. Bike lanes, overpasses and bigger parks are just some of the many options currently explored by officials.