As cycling becomes an increasingly popular mode of transportation, safety concerns remain a significant issue for cyclists. However, not all states in the United States are created equal when it comes to safety for those who choose to travel on two wheels. A recent study conducted by our team has revealed the safest states for cyclists in the country.
The study analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over a ten-year period to determine which states had the lowest percentage of cyclist deaths per population. The results were eye-opening, with some states reporting a fatality rate that was significantly lower than the national average.
The Top 10 Safest States for Cyclists
According to the IceBike.org study, the top five safest states for cyclists in the United States are:
- Nebraska: 0.77 deaths per 100,000 people
- South Dakota: 0.79 deaths per 100,000 people
- Vermont: 0.96 deaths per 100,000 people
- West Virginia: 1.05 deaths per 100,000 people
- Tennessee: 1.06 deaths per 100,000 people
- Missouri: 1.07 deaths per 100,000 people
- Rhode Island: 1.13 deaths per 100,000 people
- Connecticut: 1.17 deaths per 100,000 people
- Wyoming: 1.21 deaths per 100,000 people
- Massachusetts: 1.23 deaths per 100,000 people
These states reported a fatality rate significantly lower than the national average, making them the safest places for cyclists to travel.
Topping the list as the safest state for cyclists was Nebraska, which reported a fatality rate of just 0.77 deaths per 100,000 people. This rate was 67% lower than the national average, and the state had only 15 cyclist fatalities in the ten-year period studied. Nebraska’s total number of cyclist fatalities made up just 0.2% of all American deaths from 2010-2019.
2. South Dakota
South Dakota came in second place, with a fatality rate of 0.79 deaths per 100,000 people, which was 66% lower than the national average. Over the ten-year period, South Dakota reported seven cyclist deaths, making up just 0.1% of all national cyclist deaths from 2010-2019.
In third place was Vermont, reporting a fatality rate of 0.96 deaths per 100,000 people, which was 59% lower than the national average. The state had just six fatalities between the start of 2010 and the end of 2019, making up only 0.1% of all American cyclist deaths. Vermont was also rated the best in the country for funding by the League of American Bicyclists, with $10.06 spent per capita on biking and walking from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
4. West Virginia
West Virginia came in fourth place with a fatality rate of 1.05 deaths per 100,000 people, which was 55% lower than the national average. The state reported 19 cyclist deaths over the ten-year period.
Tennessee ranks fifth, with 1.06 deaths per 100,000 after 72 total bicyclist fatalities between 2010 and 2019. This fatality rate is 55% below the national average. Ten cyclist deaths were reported in 2015, the single highest figure in the ten years for Tennessee. However, according to NHTSA figures, Tennessee has the 11th highest fatality rate for drivers in the United States.
Missouri is ranked the sixth safest state for cyclists, based on a fatality rate of 1.07 deaths per 100,000, 54% lower than the national average. There have been 66 cyclist deaths in Missouri over the ten years, constituting just 0.9% of the national total. 2019 had the highest fatality rate for cyclists in Missouri, with 14 deaths. There were only two deaths the year before.
7. Rhode Island
Rhode Island comes in seventh place, with 1.13 bicyclist deaths per 100,000, 12 deaths total. The fatality rate is 52% lower than the national average. No cyclist deaths occurred in Rhode Island during 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2019.
Connecticut is the eighth safest, with 1.17 bicyclist deaths per 100,000 people. The fatality rate is 50% lower than the national average. There have been 42 bicyclist deaths over the decade, constituting 0.5% of the national figure. Cyclist fatalities make up just 1.54% of Connecticut’s traffic deaths.
Wyoming is ranked the ninth safest state for cyclists, with 1.21 deaths per 100,000 people, 48% lower than the national average. Wyoming has had seven cyclist deaths over ten years, contributing just 0.1% to national figures. In most years, no fatal cyclist crashes are reported, except in 2014, where five deaths occurred, and one each in 2011 and 2016. Wyoming has the lowest percentage of cyclist deaths compared to its total traffic fatality numbers in the country, at just 0.54%.
Massachusetts rounds off the list at number ten, with 1.23 deaths per 100,000 people, 48% lower than the national average. 85 cyclist deaths have occurred in The Bay State over ten years, contributing 1.1% to national numbers. 2012 had the highest number of cyclist deaths in the state, with 16 fatalities, almost double the average of 8.5 for Massachusetts. 2.38%, or just over one in 50 traffic fatalities in Massachusetts, are cyclists.
Cyclist Fatalities on the Rise
The study also revealed that cyclist fatalities have been on the rise in the United States, with an increase of 44% from 2010 to 2019, climbing from 4,302 deaths to 6,205 deaths. The trend indicates a significant concern for cyclists’ safety, highlighting the importance of awareness of safety guidelines, which is essential to ensure safe travel.
“The US, being primarily reliant on cars, means that other forms of transport are secondary. Throughout the study, there is a general trend of fatalities increasing year-on-year. So when planning a bike tour, it’s important to know which states you are safest in.”
|The Safest States for Cyclists|
|Rank||State||Bicyclist deaths per 100,000||Total bicyclist deaths (10 years)||Population|
Our study sheds light on the states that prioritize cyclist safety and those that still have work to do to improve safety measures. While the results may be surprising, they provide valuable information for anyone planning a bike tour or considering cycling as a mode of transportation. With safety as a top priority, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks and take precautions to stay safe on the road.