Bike Fatalities Rose 12% in 2015

New report recommends solutions to troubling trend, but funding for them cut.

By , Bike Federation of Wisconsin - Aug 29th, 2017 01:49 pm
Unfortunately, this happens. People use the new buffered bike lanes on Roosevelt to speed and pass people on the right. The solution is protected lanes.

Unfortunately, this happens. People use the new buffered bike lanes on Roosevelt to speed and pass people on the right. The solution is protected lanes.

As traffic fatalities are up across the board, bicyclist deaths rose 12.2% in 2015, the largest percentage increase of any other roadway user group that year, a new report shows. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association and State Farm® have partnered on a new report, A Right to the Road: Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety, which reports the following:

“Bicyclist fatalities had been declining steadily, hitting an all-time low of 621 in 2010. Since then, however, the trend line has been moving in the wrong direction; in 2015, 818 bicyclists were killed on U.S. roadways, a 12.2% increase over the previous year and the largest uptick in two decades. Bicyclists have consistently accounted for at least 2 percent of all roadway fatalities.”

To address this troubling trend, the Share & Be Aware approach is highlighted as an education model and will be part of a webinar on the report. A webinar detailing the report’s findings and suggestions will be held on August 29th at 2 p.m. Eastern. Registration is available here.

However, the program is facing an uncertain future due to changes in the last transportation bill. Approximately 80 percent of Share & Be Aware campaign costs has been funded by the state’s Highway Safety Improvement Program with donors and the Bike Fed funding the other 20%. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau Of Transportation Safety is working to identify a new funding source for FY 2018 as a result of the FAST Act prohibition on using HSIP funds for non-infrastructure initiatives (Fischer et al., 2016). Donors are invited to support this model education program as well.

The new report analyzes national data to understand fatal bicyclist-motor vehicle crash characteristics, offering 30 actions steps to help State Highway Safety Offices and local communities assess and improve their current bicyclist safety programs.

Chief among these recommendations are collecting better crash data, increasing training for law enforcement to understand laws designed to protect bicyclists, partnering with bicycling and community organizations to amplify safety messaging, and coupling infrastructure improvements with public education campaigns.

The comprehensive report was authored by traffic safety expert Pam Fischer, with data analysis performed by Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants.

Categories: Biking

6 thoughts on “Biking: Bike Fatalities Rose 12% in 2015”

  1. Aren’t the gross numbers of bicycle fatalities meaningless without MILES TRAVELED?

  2. Colin Stuart says:

    People are encouraged to bike (new lanes for them, etc)… and more people get hurt (because there are more people biking).

    Is there any way to normalize these fatalities to the number of bikers on the road? I don’t think that would be possible because bikes aren’t registered.

    It’s just like how we make everything more efficient, yet we end up using more energy every year. Why’s that? More people than before. More demand.

  3. Greg says:

    How about using NHTSA 402 funds for the education campaign? That’s what the 402 funds are for. The program that you were using is supposed to be for safety infrastructure (which was being inappropriately diverted to education).

    You could simply redirect that money from the FHWA HSIP program to bicycle safety “infrastructure” such as positive protection where it’s needed and better markings where positive protection isn’t needed, along with good signage to alert both drivers and bicyclists to each other’s presence.

  4. Steve says:

    I wonder how many of the fatalities are the assholes who continue to drive thru stop signs and red lights that I see daily. Don’t get me wrong, I believe any loss of life on a bicycle is terrible. However….if you want to be taken seriously on a bicycle, follow the traffic laws and stop thinking you are above the law.

  5. MKEDAD says:

    Can we get more specific about where and how these deaths are happening? Are they occurring at intersections or are they hits from behind as cars use bike lanes as passing lanes — as seen in the photo. Is a large share of the bike deaths occurring during dark hours of the day? If we know the specific trends of these deaths then we can get specific about implementing solutions. Without more granular data we simply end up arguing about who or what is to blame without much evidence to find reasoned next steps.

  6. Toni Toni Toni says:

    oh oh! I love getting into online debates about bike safety and red light.
    Steve, WI state law does not require bicyclists to wait for the light to turn green. It says you have to stop, check that it’s safe to go, and then you can cross.
    Wisconsin State Law also says you can’t use a handheld device while operating a motor vehicle. You need to drive the speed limit, you need to use a turn signal and you need to give cyclists 3 feet when passing. So when I start to see drivers actually paying attention to the rules of the road, I’ll worry about waiting out a stop light (even though I’m not required to.)

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