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Charlotte Is the 12th Most Dangerous City for Cyclists


Charlotte Is the 12th Most Dangerous City for Cyclists

Commuters looking to reduce their environmental footprint may want to think twice about safety before hopping on a bike. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of cyclist deaths has been rapidly increasing over the past several years. In 2017 alone, there were 783 cyclist fatalities nationwide, a 25 percent increase since 2010.

Increases in cyclist fatalities have occurred alongside increases in bike share programs and the number of cyclists commuting to work. In 2017, there were nearly 800,000 commuters nationwide who rode their bicycles to work, representing 0.5 percent of all commuters. While the share of bike commuters has remained steady in recent years, the fatality rate per 100,000 bike commuters is at a ten-year high.

Although cyclist fatalities have been on the rise nationwide, the risk varies widely by location. Between 2014 and 2017, California, Florida, and Texas, were responsible for about 41 percent of all cyclist fatalities in the U.S., despite accounting for only 27 percent of the population. When comparing fatality rates (per commuter or per resident), the most dangerous areas are clustered in the Southeastern U.S. Despite warmer weather, these states also report below-average rates of bike commuters—possibly the result of dangerous riding conditions.

With the rise of bike share programs and an increased emphasis on more environmentally friendly modes of transportation, cycling is likely to continue growing in popularity, especially in major cities. To identify which cities are most dangerous for cyclists, researchers at analyzed fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System for the period 2014-2017, as well as population data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. They ranked cities by the number of bike fatalities per 100,000 bike commuters. Only cities with at least one cyclist fatality per year and at least 100,000 residents were included in the analysis.

The analysis found that Charlotte, NC is the 12th most dangerous city for cyclists. Here is a summary of the data for Charlotte:

  • Annual bike fatalities per 100K commuters: 267
  • Annual bike fatalities per 1M residents: 2.7
  • Total bike fatalities (last 4 years): 9
  • Share of fatalities where cyclist wore a helmet: 11%
  • Number of bike commuters: 843

For reference, here is the data for the entire United States:

  • Annual bike fatalities per 100K commuters: 104
  • Annual bike fatalities per 1M residents: 2.5
  • Total bike fatalities (last 4 years): 3,193
  • Share of fatalities where cyclist wore a helmet: 16%
  • Number of bike commuters: 764,013

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results for all U.S. cities, you can find the original report here: