Bicyclist deaths down overall, but up among adults: report

Madison, WI – Overall bicycling-related death rates have decreased over the past three decades, although rates are up among adult cyclists, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers used national collision data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System to examine mortality trends among cyclists from 1975 to 2012. During that period, annual overall bicycle death rates fell to 0.23 deaths per 100,000 from 0.41.

The steepest drop was among children younger than 15, whose rate fell to 0.09 in 2012 from 1.18 in 1975 – a 92 percent decline. The researchers attributed this decrease to fewer children taking bicycle trips, with an increased use of helmets potentially contributing.

Adults 35-74 years old experienced an increase in bicyclist fatalities during the study period, with the 35-54 age group seeing a nearly threefold increase in its death rate.

To improve bicycle safety and prevent fatalities, researchers suggested communities take a multi-faceted approach to bicycle road safety, including separate bike lanes, speed humps, lowered speed limits, and education to encourage safe behavior among cyclists and motorists.

The study was published in the Aug. 14 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.