The global events of the last few years meant more people in California were spending time on their bikes. However, as the number of Californians traveling by bike increased, so, too, did the number of cyclists suffering serious injuries and fatalities on California’s roadways. Why is it that car-on-bike collisions are on the rise across the state and nation, and what might communities start doing to better protect their cyclists?
According to NPR, many cyclists and cycling advocates believe there is a disconnect between communities encouraging their citizens to travel by bike and those communities putting the proper infrastructure in place to protect them.
Why cyclist injuries and fatalities are rising
While it makes sense that more people cycling means more cycling accidents are taking place, the state of California’s roadways and bike lanes is also contributing to the uptick in cyclist injuries and fatalities. Many of the roads in the state first took shape in the 1880s, before bike travel became common. Thus, many of the state’s roads and streets lack the bike lanes and other infrastructure needed to keep bikers safe. Studies suggest that concrete barriers or curbs are an effective way to separate cyclists from moving vehicles, but many California communities lack these safety measures.
How many cyclists are suffering injuries, fatalities
Research shows that 1,260 cyclists lost their lives on roadways across California and the nation in 2020, rising 16% over the year prior and 44% over the last decade. These numbers rose even more in 2021, with cyclist deaths increasing by 5% between 2020 and 2021.
While adding certain infrastructure helps communities reduce cyclist injuries and deaths, so, too, does making bike lanes more noticeable to motorists by painting them bright colors or increasing signage.