A three-year study of bicycle fatalities shows Illinois had the fifth-highest number in the nation. The report from the Governors Highway Safety Association showed that 80 bicyclists were killed in Illinois during the three-year period.
However, that number was significantly below the top two states. California had 338 fatalities and Florida had 329 during the same period.
The study looked only at the total number of deaths, without considering population, so the study doesn’t necessarily confirm that bicyclists in Illinois are at a greater risk than in other states. Still, the report indicates that as urban commuting by bicycle has become more popular, the number of fatal accidents in urban areas has increased.
In 1975, half of all bicycle fatalities occurred in urban areas. By 2012, the percentage had climbed to 69%. In addition, as bicycles have become more popular with adults, the percentage of adults killed has shot up – going from 21 percent in 1975 to 84 percent in 2012.
Adult males comprised 74% of all bicyclist deaths in 2012. More than two-thirds of those involved in fatal accidents were not wearing helmets.
Finally, drinking and bicycling do not mix. Twenty-eight percent of those 16 and older killed in bicycle accidents had a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. Surprisingly, the percentage of alcohol-related bike fatalities was only five percent less than that of passenger vehicle drivers (33%).