California Cyclist Deaths Reach 25-Year High

Among the many benefits of living in California is the fact that the favorable climate makes it well-suited for cycling. However, if you are among those who regularly ride your bike in and around Sacramento, you would be wise to exercise extreme care when doing so. 

California Healthline reports that the state’s cyclist fatalities have reached their highest level in 25 years. While death rates are rising, so, too are the number of cyclists suffering serious, debilitating injuries in crashes. Between 2016 and 2018, 455 cyclists died in crashes with vehicles in California, which is the highest death rate seen in any three-year span since the mid-1990s. 

Sacramento-specific statistics 

While bike deaths are higher in Los Angeles than in any other part of California, Sacramento has also seen a sharp uptick in bike crashes and associated fatalities in recent years. Between 2016 and 2018, 47 bicyclists died in wrecks on Sacramento’s roadways. Comparatively, 10 years prior, between 2006 and 2008, the city saw 16 cyclist deaths. 

Contributing factors 

Why is it that bike crashes and cyclist deaths are increasing across Sacramento and the rest of California? Safety advocates believe several factors are to blame. For starters, there are simply more motorists on the roadways then before. 

Also, distracted driving has become more common in recent years, and bike crashes caused by distracted drivers have risen as a result. The fact that many Americans are opting for large SUVs and trucks may also play a role in the rising number of bike deaths seen on California’s roads, as larger vehicles are more likely to lead to fatalities than smaller ones. 

Many believe that reducing speed limits in areas that see consider cyclist traffic should help reduce associated injuries and fatalities. In the meantime, both cyclists and motorists can do their part to keep everyone safe on the roads, including by exercising extra caution at intersections, refraining from distracted driving, double-checking blindspots and more.