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NHTSA: Cyclist fatalities from motor vehicle crashes declined 8% last year (don't celebrate yet)

Published October 10, 2018

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show an 8.1 percent decline in cyclist deaths due to motor vehicle-related incidents last year, compared with the prior year. 

Experts in the bike community point out that the findings, while welcome, don't indicate a trend.

“The 8 percent reduction in U.S. bike fatalities from 2016 to 2017 corresponds to a 5 percent reduction in the fatality rate (per 10,000 bike commuters)," said Jennifer Boldry, the director of research for PeopleForBikes. Boldry determined the fatality rate using one of the few long-term measures of bicycle use available, the U.S. Census' American Community Survey. The ACS asks a sample of Americans how they got to work in the prior week. 
Boldry said the latest NHTSA numbers have to be viewed in the context of long-term trends.

"This finding is certainly preferable to another increase, but it shouldn’t be interpreted as a trend. Over the last five years, there is an average annual increase in U.S. bike deaths of 2 percent. The key takeaway is that we have a lot of work to do to make it safer and make people feel safer when they ride bikes on U.S. roadways," she said.

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