Florida Is the Deadliest State for Cyclists

Seven of the 10 U.S. counties with the highest cyclist fatality rates are located in Florida, new analysis shows.

2 minute read

February 20, 2024, 5:00 AM PST

By Mary Hammon @marykhammon


White bike helmet lies upturned on a road with red bicylce underneath the front of a far in the background.

Kzenon / Adobe Stock

Seventeen cyclists are killed on U.S. roads weekly, but some locales are more dangerous than others for people traveling on two, or sometimes three, wheels. A new analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data by Georgia-based personal injury law firm Bader Scott has pinpointed the deadliest, reports the Guardian: Florida.

The study looked at the number of road crashes that killed pedal cyclists in the country’s 200 most populous counties between 2017 and 2021 and ranked them. Over those five years, those counties accounted for nearly 60 percent of cyclist deaths in the U.S., the study said.

According to the data, seven of the ten deadliest counties—including the top three—were in Florida. The only other states to rank on the list are from Louisiana and California.

  1. Pasco County, Florida: 40 cycling deaths (fatality rate of 7.12 deaths per 100,000 people)
  2. Sarasota County, Florida: 24 deaths (fatality rate of 5.53)
  3. Manatee County, Florida: 21 deaths (fatality rate of 5.24)
  4. East Baton Rouge County, Louisiana: 23 deaths (fatality rate of 5.04)
  5. Pinellas County, Florida: 48 deaths (fatality rate of 5)
  6. Orleans County, Louisiana: 19 deaths (fatality rate of 4.95)
  7. Volusia County, Florida: 27 deaths (fatality rate of 4.88)
  8. San Joaquin County, California: 37 deaths (fatality rate of 4.75)
  9. Marion County, Florida: 17 deaths (fatality rate of 4.52)
  10. Hillsborough, Florida: 66 deaths (fatality rate of 4.52)

The Guardian article points out these deaths are disproportionate to cycling’s modal share (the percentage of travelers using a particular type of transportation), citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which estimates that cycling trips make up only 1 percent of trips in the U.S., yet cyclists make up 2 percent of people who die in car crashes. 

This has prompted cities across the U.S. to adopt Vision Zero plans, including Tampa, Florida (located in Hillsborough county, ranked 10 on the list above). In 2022, in response to its high cyclist fatality rates, the city boosted its Vision Zero effort through “quick build” projects to improve road safety, which they say has successfully resulted in fewer overall traffic deaths, including cyclists.

A recent study in the Journal of Cycling and Micromobility Research also found that higher cyclist and pedestrian fatality rates are directly linked to lack of bike-friendly infrastructure.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 in The Guardian

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