Is Bicycling in the United States More Dangerous?

Is Bicycling in the United States More Dangerous?

Bicycling is an excellent form of transportation used by many in countries across the world. Ensuring the safety of bicyclists is an important issue, especially as bicycling becomes more popular. Matt Phillips, from The Quartz identified a report completed by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that shows that the safety of bicyclists varies immensely across countries. Americans are most likely to be killed compared to the other 33 country members of the OECD.

Below is a chart that shows bicycling travel per inhabitant per year and the number of cyclists killed per kilometer.

quartz screen-shot-2013-12-20-at-1-42-10-pm

Source: The Quartz; OECD report

Some of the statistics included in The Quartz article from the report include:

  • “An overwhelming majority of fatal bicycle crashes occur in dry or clear atmospheric conditions – 94% in the USA and 87% in Europe.”
  • “In the United States, most fatal bicycle-vehicle collisions involved a passenger car or light truck  (Sports Utility Vehicle) though 10% of fatal bicycle collisions involved a large truck.”
  • “In the United States, 36% of all fatal bicycle crashes for the period 2005-2011 occurred in junctions with another 4% in driveways (commercial and private) most likely caused by entering or exiting motor vehicles.”

Source: The Quartz; OECD report;

Designing streets and sidewalks to be more bicycle-friendly will cut down on the bicycling fatalities faced by many Americans. According to the state of Maryland, “Bicyclists fare best when they act like and are treated as drivers of vehicles.” It is also Maryland law that “bicycles are vehicles, and bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles.” It is important for bicyclists to ensure their own safety by following traffic laws but we can do our part by advocating for roads and sidewalks that are bicycle-friendly. We hope the presence of bicyclists will continue to grow in the White Flint area but we must make sure our bicyclists are safe. Check out this page for more information bicycling in Maryland.

For more statistics, read the full article from The Quartz here.


Rebecca Hertz


Rebecca Hertz is the Assistant Executive Director of Friends of White Flint. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University, Worcester Massachusetts in 2012. She completed her Master’s Degree from Clark University, as well, in Community Development and Planning in 2013. She is interested in how built environments impact the health and growth of communities. Prior to this role, she worked as a youth worker and mentor for several non-profit organizations in Maryland and Massachusetts. She grew up in Rockville, MD and has recently moved back to the region.

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