Wisconsin Fatal Bicycle Accidents

As far as fatalities are concerned, Wisconsin falls below the national average for bicyclist deaths. The number of injuries, however, is in line with statistics for the US. This is one of the main reasons why the Wisconsin Department of Transportation puts emphasis on bike safety programs and increasing awareness.

Fatal Bicycle Accident Statistics

Federal data for 2012 ranks Wisconsin as the 15th deadliest state for cyclists. The ranking is based on per capita fatality numbers. The average annual biker deaths per one million people are 1.9.

The report suggests that in 2010, nine cyclists died in Wisconsin. The figure went up to 12 people in 2011 and 11 people in 2012.

The Department of Transportation has the most recent numbers pertaining to fatal collisions involving cyclists. The report suggests that 12 people were killed in 2011, 11 people were killed in 2012, ten people were killed in 2013, four in 2014, 15 in 2015 and 11 in 2016. The annual average for the period is ten.

One promising statistic is that the number of collisions involving bikers has been steadily going down. In 2011, there were 1.049 crashes involving cyclists. This number went down to 925 accidents in in 2014 and 918 accidents in 2016. The annual average for the period was 1,013 accidents.

The state also publishes detailed Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Analysis reports. The latest one covers the period from 2011 to 2013.

This report highlights some important factors that could have contributed to accidents. Almost 70 percent of all bicycle-related collisions happened on streets that have a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or higher. Only 33 percent occurred on rural roads while 64 percent took place on roadways between intersections.

Most crashes occurred in the period between 3 pm and 6 pm. Surprisingly, the number of collisions that take place during the night or in less than ideal light conditions isn’t that high. Some other conditions that could have contributed to crashes include the following:

  • Wet road
  • Cloudy weather and other environmental factors interfering with visibility
  • Alcohol consumption by either car driver or cyclist
  • Improper maneuvering (turning, overtaking, backing up, making a turn, etc.)
  • Failure to stop at a traffic sign or a red light

Moving on to demographics, 61 percent of the collisions between cars and bikes involved a male driver. At the same time, 88 percent of the crashes featured a male bicyclist. The good news is that crashes involving cyclists under the age of 20 have gone down dramatically over the past few years. Young individuals accounted for 62 percent of bike-related crashes in 2003. The number has gone down to 33 percent for 2013.

Safety Initiatives and Infrastructure Development

In Wisconsin, bicyclists can use bike lanes, roads, trails, sidewalks and crosswalks for commuting. There are well-developed regulations and laws providing information about what’s permissible and what’s not regarding safe riding behavior.

Reports, however, suggest that motorists aren’t always tolerant when it comes to safety. Hit and run cases involving cyclists are still common. Initiatives aimed at increasing awareness and ending such behaviors have been adopted through the years. There’s an important reason for such programs – a motorist is often the only person who could provide a biker with assistance. Such on-the-spot help may prove to be life-saving.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, Wisconsin ranks as the ninth most bike-friendly state in the country. It has gotten major points for the introduction of biking safety programs and for education, evaluation, and planning.

A few areas in need of further improvement include increasing the amount of state funding available for the execution of such projects, spending more federal funding for such projects, adopting vulnerable road user laws and encouraging the integration of biking infrastructure in the overall transportation network.

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