California has some of the most overcrowded roadways in the nation, meaning many state residents have to account for time spent in traffic when making their way around the state. Because traveling the state’s freeways often takes considerable time, many state residents are choosing to take up cycling as an alternative method of transportation. While an increase in the popularity of bicycling may mean good things for traffic and the health of state residents, statistics show that it has a downside, too. In fact, statistics show that cyclist deaths in California are at their highest number in 25 years. 

According to California Healthline, more bicyclists passed away in traffic crashes between 2016 and 2018 than in any other three-year period in the last 25 years. In fact, 455 cyclists lost their lives in crashes involving vehicles during this time span, which means that there were about 3.9 fatal bike crashes for every million California residents. 

The last time bike fatalities were this high was back in the mid-1990s, which was long before many cities and towns across California created new bike lanes and other infrastructure to help protect cyclists and reduce wrecks, injuries and deaths. These new numbers suggest that other factors, such as distracted driving, may be contributing to the rising number of cyclists losing their lives on state roadways. 

While California’s cyclist deaths are rising substantially, the number of bicyclists passing away in wrecks nationally is also increasing. Between 2016 and 2018, for example, there were 2,516 cyclist deaths nationally, which was the highest number of deaths seen in any three-year period since the mid-2000s. Find more about bike and car crashes on our webpage.