Everyone knows that people are killed and injured every
year in car and bicycle accidents, but few people have any idea how the number
of deaths and injuries compares between those on bicycles and those driving or
occupying passenger vehicles. A look at
recent statistics shows the relative impact of bicycle and car deaths and
In 2011, 677 people were killed and 38,000 were injured
in bicycle crashes, according to the National
Safety Administration. It is very difficult to determine exactly
what percentage of bicycle riders are involved in accidents each year, since
bicycle riders are not required to register their vehicles or obtain a license
in order to ride as car owners must do.
Furthermore, as many as 90 percent of all bicycle injuries are never
officially reported by police agencies.
However, by any reasonable reckoning, 57 million people rode
a bicycle at least once during
the year. This means that the number of
people killed in relation to the people riding bicycles at any given time is
extremely small; less than one percent of bicycle riders will suffer fatal
accidents in any given year. One way to
estimate the impact of bicycle death and injury is the National Safety
Council’s figure of $4 billion per year as an estimate of the total cost of
Car Accident Statistics
Because cars are required to be registered and insured
and because drivers must have a license, car accident statistics are much
easier to compile. In 2011, according to
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32,367 people died in traffic accidents in the United
States. This represents much less than one percent of
the 193.5 million registered drivers in the United States. As with bicycle accidents, the
being killed in a car accident are actually very small. However, the chance of being injured
in a car
accident is much higher; every year, approximately 3 million people, or about
one percent of the population, is injured in a car crash.
Is Bicycle Riding More
Dangerous Than Driving a Car?
One way to look
at the relative dangers of bicycling versus car driving is to look at the
percentage of fatalities represented by each mode of travel. Among fatal accidents, bicycle
represent two percent of fatalities but only one percent of all trips. Car accidents, on the
other hand, account for
the majority of vehicle fatalities relative to the number of trips. Depending on how the
statistics are used,
riding in a car can be considered much more dangerous than riding a bicycle.
The dangers of
each type of travel are also dependent on the time of day, the age and gender
of the cyclist or driver and the presence of alcohol.
For those who
have been injured in a bicycle accident, a Sacramento
personal injury attorney may be able to help them collect damages for their
injuries, pain and suffering and lost wages or other costs.