Just released US NHTSA data shows bike fatalities in 2011 are up 8.7% in spite of an overall 2% decrease in traffic fatalities. Pedestrian fatalities are also up 3%.
The 2% decline in traffic fatalities outpaces the 1.2% decline in vehicle miles traveled. Unfortunately, no good data is available for “bike miles traveled.” American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census suggests double and triple digit gains in the number of people biking to work.
Every death is too many, and I like efforts that promote a goal of zero road fatalities. It’s helpful to track this stuff on a year-by-year basis, but multi-year comparisons are necessary to make anything more of the data. The number of bike fatalities nationwide is fairly low: 673 cyclists perished on American roads in 2011 vs 622 in 2010, according to the FARS data.
More discussion on this over at the Streetsblog Network.