Walking and biking are healthy, environmentally friendly transportation options. More people are walking and biking to work, cities are implementing bike share programs, and transportation planners are taking pedestrians and bicyclists into account.
Unfortunately, pedestrians and cyclists are at an inherent disadvantage when involved in traffic crashes: when a faster moving vehicle meets a pedestrian or a bicycle, the vehicle always wins. Further, as vehicle technology has improved to protect passengers, non-occupants remain equally vulnerable.
In 2018, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States, 17% of all traffic fatalities and the highest since 1990. This is a 3.4% increase in pedestrian fatalities from 2017. 1 GHSA's latest Spotlight on Highway Safety Report on pedestrian fatalities projected this uptick.
Each year about 2 percent of fatalities resulting from motor vehicle crashes are bicyclists. In 2018, 857 cyclists were killed,1 and recent research found that since 2011, an average of 55 additional bicyclists have died annually in the U.S. In 2015, 85% of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle-cyclist crashes were male, and the average age of those killed was 45.2
GHSA recognizes the importance of bicyclist and pedestrian safety, and its member State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) administer programs focused on improving safety for people who ride bikes and walk.
GHSA has partnered with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) to promote and enhance pedestrian and bicyclist safety efforts. In October 2018, GHSA and PBIC co-hosted a webinar discussing pedestrian and bicyclist safety education for children. The webinar recording and slides can be accessed below.
1 National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2019, October). 2018 fatal motor vehicle crashes: Overview. (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 826). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
2 A Right to the Road: Understanding and Addressing Bicyclist Safety. GHSA, 2017. https://www.ghsa.org/resources/bicyclist-safety2017.