Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

June 6, 2013

Orange barrels on a highway

Higher temperatures lead to more bicyclist deaths, injuries


Bicyclists, drivers urged to Share the Road as summer arrives

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Warmer temperatures mean more bicyclists will return to the road, and together, motorists and bicyclists must share the road, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Minnesota Department of Transportation.

In the last five years (2008-12), 44 bicyclists died on Minnesota roads and 4,599 were injured. During this period, more than half of bicyclist deaths (24) and 60 percent of injuries (2,852) occurred between June and September.

In 2012, seven bicyclists were killed and 875 were injured on Minnesota roads.

“To reduce crashes, motorists must treat bicyclists like they’d treat any other vehicle,” said Sue Groth, MnDOT state traffic engineer. “And bicyclists on the road must act like vehicles—meaning stop at stop signs, signal turns and be visible.”

When and Where Bike Crashes Happen in Minnesota
Each year, about one-third of bicycle crashes occur during afternoon rush hours. Three out of five bike crashes occur in cities with populations of 50,000 or more.

Who’s At Risk in Minnesota
Each year, riders ages 15-24 account for around one-third of all bicyclists killed or injured, and nearly 75 percent of bicyclists killed or injured are male. In the past five years, about 150 children bicyclists ages 10-14 are killed or injured annually.

Leading Crash Factors
The primary reason crashes occur for both bicyclists and motorists is failure to yield right of way.  For bicyclists, another leading crash factor is disregard for a traffic control device—such as a stop sign or traffic light. For drivers, it’s inattention.

Both motorists and bicyclists are at fault for half of all bicycle-vehicle crashes. 

Bicyclist Tips

  • Be seen: Wear bright clothing/reflective gear and use lights in both the front and back of the bike.
  • Wear a helmet and ensure it fits correctly
  • Signal turns.
  • Ride on the road, and ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Obey all traffic control signs and signals, just as motorists.
  • Assume drivers can’t see you. Look out for your own safety, as distracted drivers aren’t looking for you.
  • Don’t use headphones.

Motorist Tips

  • Drive at safe speeds and drive attentively.
  • Give bicyclists room—maintain at least a 3-foot clearance when passing.
  • Look twice and check blind-spots — especially before turning.
  • Use caution when opening vehicle doors after parking.

For information about MnDOT’s “Share the Road” bicycle safety education program, bicycle crash statistics and bicycle events statewide, visit www.sharetheroadmn.org. Printable resource materials are also available on the website.

Promoting bicyclist safety is a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.

 

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