Nebraska – Safest State For Cyclists In U.S.

(KFOR NEWS  January 9, 2023)  New research shows Nebraska is the safest state for cyclists.

The research by bike experts, Ice Bike, studied data over ten years from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to see which states had the lowest percentage of cyclist deaths according to the population.  The analysis revealed that between 2010 and 2019, 15 people were killed in cyclist accidents in Nebraska.   Compared to the state’s population, this equates to 0.77 deaths per 100,000 people. It is the lowest rate in the nation and 67% below the national average of 2.35 per 100,000.  Nebraska’s total number of cyclist fatalities made up just 0.2% of all American deaths from 2010-2019.

South Dakota sits in second place, with seven cyclist deaths in the ten-year period, which equates to 0.79 bicyclist deaths per 100,000,  66% lower than the national average.  The total number of cyclist fatalities in South Dakota made up just 0.1% of all national cyclist deaths from 2010-2019.  South Dakota has one of the lowest percentages of cyclist deaths compared to its total traffic fatalities, with cyclist crashes contributing only 0.55% to its total traffic fatalities.  No reported cyclist deaths occurred in South Dakota from 2012 to 2013 and 2016 to 2018.

Vermont comes in third, with 0.96 deaths per 100,000 people, due to only six fatalities between the start of 2010 and the end of 2019, which is 59% lower than the national average.  Vermont’s fatality rate is only 0.1% of all American cyclist deaths.  The League of American Bicyclists rated Vermont the best in the country for funding, with $10.06 spent per capita on biking and walking from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The Safest States for Cyclists
Rank State Bicyclist deaths per 100,000 Total bicyclist deaths (10 years) Population
1 Nebraska 0.77 15 1,929,268
2 South Dakota 0.79 7 882,235
3 Vermont 0.96 6 626,299
4 West Virginia 1.05 19 1,805,832
5 Tennessee 1.06 72 6,770,010
6 Missouri 1.07 66 6,126,452
7 Rhode Island 1.13 12 1,057,315
8 Connecticut 1.17 42 3,572,665
9 Wyoming 1.21 7 577,737
10 Massachusetts 1.23 85 6,902,149

West Virginia is the fourth safest state for cyclists, with 1.05 deaths per 100,000.  The Mountain State’s fatality rate is 55% below the national average.  According to NHTSA figures, there have been 19 reported cyclist deaths in West Virginia over ten years.

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.

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.

In the United States, cyclist deaths have risen 44% in ten years, climbing from 4,302 in 2010 to 6,205 in 2019.

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from Ice Bike said: “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 research was conducted by Ice Bike, which provides reviews and price comparisons for bikes.

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