You may feel lucky to live in California, where you have the option of biking where you need to go throughout much of the year, but the state is becoming more dangerous for cyclists. California’s bike fatalities have reached a 25-year high, and the number of cyclists experiencing injuries in car-on-bike crashes is also increasing statewide.
Per California Healthline, the state saw more cyclist deaths on its roadways between 2016 and 2018 than it did during any other three-year stretch within the past quarter-century. Within that span, 455 bicyclists died in crashes on California roads. There were also 3.9 fatal bike crashes occurring for every million people living there during that time.
Factors causing an uptick in cyclist deaths
Why are you facing an increasingly hazardous environment when you explore California by bike? Several factors are likely to blame. The number of motorists on the roads has grown, for starters. The popularity of cycling has also increased, with more car-on-bike crashes a natural result.
The rising popularity of rideshare services may also contribute to the state’s increasing number of cyclist deaths, as rideshare drivers often drive around between jobs. The increasing popularity of smartphones is also making California’s roads more dangerous for cyclists, with many motorists driving distracted despite laws requiring otherwise.
Larger vehicles and cyclist deaths
While more drivers are out on the roads, more of them are also driving large, heavy SUVs. When SUVs and cyclists collide, the injuries are often more severe than they are in vehicle-on-bike crashes involving smaller cars. If a tall SUV strikes you on your bike, it may hit you in the chest area, whereas a smaller, lower vehicle may result in a less-serious injury to your knee or thigh.