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The Safest - And Most Dangerous - Cycling Cities In America


Cycling has momentum. Cities and states across the country are working to support cycling safety and cycling infrastructure, and they attention is starting to pay off. This year, statistics show that we are making progress.

Overall, cycling is becoming more and more safe. Crashes declined overall from 50,000 to 45,000 reported incidents in 2018. Experts say that better driver education, more cycling-specific infrastructure, and more cycling advocacy have played big roles in making going by bike a safer endeavor than ever, even in urban environments. That’s something for everyone to be excited about.

It’s not all good news, however. While overall crashes are down, the fatality rate is going up. It’s probably not surprising that fatalities and serious injuries occur most often in high-traffic, busy city centers. The main causes of this urban problem are more new or less experience cyclists trying to commute, distracted or careless drivers, and a lack of cycling infrastructure like raised medians and dividing cycling lanes. Not only do more accidents happen in cities, they are significantly more likely to be fatal.

In 2018, the most dangerous cities for cycling were as follows:

  1. Albuquerque, NM

  2. Tucson, AZ

  3. Las Vegas, NV

  4. Phoenix, AZ

  5. San Jose, CA

  6. Columbus, OH

  7. San Francisco, CA

  8. Memphis, TN

  9. Philadelphia, PA

  10. Los Angeles, CA

It’s worth pointing out that most of these cities are in climates that allow for more year-round, which may affect the statistics. Still, these are some of the biggest population centers in the US and reflect what communities are investing in cycling, and which aren’t. There are cities that are getting it right. The ten safest cites are:

  1. Oklahoma City, OK

  2. Boston, MA

  3. Dallas, TX

  4. Indianapolis, IN

  5. Fort Worth, TX

  6. Seattle, WA

  7. Detroit, MI

  8. Fresno, CA

  9. San Diego, CA

  10. Portland, OR

Many of these cities have invested heavily in cycling infrastructure to avoid some of the most common types crashes. Driver distraction, both riders and drivers failing to yield or stop at intersections, and a lack of attention from all road users contribute heavily to the number of incidents. Those factors, piled on top of poor cycling lanes, a lack of raised or separate cycling lanes and signage, plus simple influences like riding at night all create problems.

Want to read the full report? Head here.