Thinking of riding your bike as an option to commuting to work? Considering more biking this year just as a way to stay in shape? No matter why you’re going to ride more, you need to be aware of the risks of doing so. And, if you’re a male cyclist, those risks are higher than they are for your female counterparts.
One way to consider the risk is just to look at the fatalities per year. This information is tracked by the Highway Loss Data Institute, which is part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). They track all manner of statistics — total deaths, DUI-related deaths, etc. — and one is the number of cyclists who pass away, split by gender. For men in 2018, the total came to 735 people. For women, it was just 114. While almost 850 people passed away, the majority — by a lot — were men.
This is certainly not new. The year before, in 2017, a total of 708 men died and only 89 women. In 2016, the difference was 714 to 128. You can go back as far as 1975, which is the most distant year for which they present these statistics, and there is never a single year in which more female cyclists pass away in car accidents. In 1975, the cycling community lost 820 men and 183 women.
The concerning picture that these trends paint is not just that men face greater risks, but that hundreds of cyclists — of both genders — continue dying every year. The families of those who do, along with cyclists who survive and suffer serious injuries, need to know what legal rights they have.