When you have a loved one who is an avid cyclist, you want to assume that everyone on the road is going to exercise care when navigating California’s roadways. This is not the case, though, as the number of bicyclists dying on the state’s roadways has reached a 25-year high.
According to California Healthline, there were more cyclist deaths in California between 2016 and 2018 than there were during any other three-year stretch since the mid-1990s. In the mid-1990s, many communities across the state began adding bike lanes and similar infrastructure designed to help keep cyclists safe.
Big cars, busy roadways
Cycling has become more popular in recent years, and this plays a role in the rising number of bike fatalities statewide. However, several other factors are also impacting numbers.
Large trucks and SUVs have grown in popularity, and when large cars and cyclists collide, the stakes are higher than they are in crashes involving bicyclists and smaller vehicles. Large SUVS often also have large blind spots, making it harder for the individuals driving them to see cyclists in certain areas. The fact that the state’s roadways are busier than ever is also contributing to rising bike fatality rates.
A rise in distracted driving is also to blame for the uptick in cyclist fatalities across California. Drivers using their cellphones while driving cause thousands of deaths each year. Many of the motorists responsible for these car-on-bike crashes say they never saw the cyclists in the first place.