Preliminary figures released by the government Monday show that 37,313 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year. That's 9.1 percent lower than the year before, when 41,059 died, and the fewest since 1961, when there were 36,285 deaths.
As the economy slid deeper into recession and gas prices reached $4 a gallon last year, the number of people killed in auto accidents hit its lowest level in five decades.
In addition to fewer miles logged by drivers worried about expenses, experts also cited record-high seat-belt use, tighter enforcement of drunken driving laws and the work of advocacy groups that encourage safer driving habits.
Now here is the interesting question... did cyclist deaths also decline?
Supposedly there were more cyclists on the roads due to the high gas prices, and one might surmise that those cyclists were "newbies," at least at commuting. Did the decrease in motorist miles make the roads safer for cyclists?
Here also is an interesting number: "A different measure, also offering good news, was the fatality rate, the number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. It was 1.28 in 2008, the lowest on record. A year earlier it was 1.36."
That means that motorists are surviving what accidents do occur. The safety of the motor vehicle has improved.
Unfortunately the NHTSA only has bicycle stats up to 2007.
The LAB only has stats up to 2001. (sheesh... talk about "dated data.) Sidenote... talk about skewed statistics... the LAB presents this number for "cyclists:"The bottom line is that motoring has become safer... due in part to less driving, and due in part to better safety equipment. Of course driving still does nothing positive for your overall health (in fact, there are studies that show driving in freeway traffic causes significant increases in blood pressure).Originally Posted by LAB
But how have cyclists fared? That is the question here? Did the increase in cyclists (if there really was an increase) relate to more or less cyclist deaths? Did the decrease in motoring coincide with more or less cyclist deaths?