A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) confirms
that fatal bicycle accidents are on the rise. Even more alarming for San
Diego residents, California is one of six states that represented 54 percent
of all fatalities in the United States.
According to the GHSA, between 2010 and 2012, U.S. bicyclist deaths increased
by 16 percent. Meanwhile, other motor vehicle fatalities increased by
one percent during this same time period. California led the country with
338 deaths between 2010 and 2012. By comparison, 23 states averaged five
or fewer deaths per year.
GHSA report also highlights that certain populations are at greater risk. Adult males
accounted for 74 percent of all bicyclist fatalities in 2012. In addition,
the percentage of deaths occurring in urban areas climbed from 50 percent
in 1975 to 69 percent in 2012.
Alcohol impairment also continues to play a significant role in bicycle
deaths. In 2012, 28 percent of riders age 16 and older had blood alcohol
concentrations (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, compared with 33 percent
of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers.
As a reminder, the most important bicycle safety tip is to always wear
a helmet. In 2012, two-thirds or more of fatally injured bicyclists were
not wearing helmets. In California, all bikers under the age of 18 must
wear a helmet. However, lawmakers are currently considering a
law that would require all bicyclists to wear helmets.
Below are a few more ways to stay safe while biking in and around San Diego:
- Travel in the same direction as vehicular traffic.
- Obey traffic signs and other rules of the road.
- Ride in a straight line.
- Signal all turns.
- Stay visible through the use of bright or reflective clothing and other gear.
- Don’t bike while distracted.