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

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Street scene in Greenwich Village, New York City with people walking through busy intersection and new WTC tower in background.

Planning for Accessibility: Proximity is More Important than Mobility

Accessibility-based planning minimizes the distance that people must travel to reach desired services and activities. Measured this way, increased density can provide more total benefits than increased speeds.

April 14, 2024 - Todd Litman

Wood-frame two-story rowhouses under construction.

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

"No 710" lawn sign on green lawn.

LA Metro Board Approves New 710 Freeway Plan

The newest plan for the 710 corridor claims it will not displace any residents.

April 22 - Streetsblog LA

Close-up of row of electric cars plugged into chargers at outdoor station.

Austin’s Proposed EV Charging Rules Regulate Station Locations, Size

City planners say the new rules would ensure an efficient distribution of charging infrastructure across the city and prevent an overconcentration in residential areas.

April 22 - Austin Monitor

Green hills with orange California poppies in bloom in foreground in Chino Hills State Park, California.

Making California State Parks More Climate-Resilient

A recently released report offers recommendations for keeping state parks healthy and robust, including acquiring additional land for conservation and recreation.

April 22 - Spectrum News 1

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.