New CDC Report Finds Florida Has Highest Cyclist Mortality Rate in America
A newly released report titled Bicyclist Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Traffic—United States, 1975-2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) notes that the overall number of cyclist deaths across the country has been steadily declining. According to the report, the overall mortality rate for cyclists involved in motor vehicle collisions decreased 44%, from 0.41 to 0.23 deaths per 100,000, over the span of the 38-year study period. The steepest decline by far was for children younger than 15 years of age. In fact, the sharp decline in that one age group is largely responsible for the statistics showing an overall decline in cyclist deaths. The CDC cautions that the decline in this age group may very well be attributable to children making fewer bicycle trips rather than riding conditions and/or environment actually becoming safer.
That’s the somewhat muted good news. The bad news is that mortality rates for adults aged 35-74 years have increased significantly since 1975. The largest increase was among adults aged 35-54 years, with mortality rates for the age group nearly tripling. Even worse news for cyclists in Florida is that the state is home to the highest cyclist mortality rate in the nation at 0.57 per 100,000. That’s more than ten times higher than Vermont, which has lowest at 0.04. Unfortunately, things don’t appear to be getting any better. Florida experienced the smallest decreases (9.7%) in its age-adjusted mortality rate over the course of the study period. To put that woeful figure into perspective, the only other state that had a single-digit decrease was Wyoming, and the vast majority of states had decreases well above 40%.
Come on, Florida! We can and must do better. As cyclists, our lives literally depend on it. It’s time we all take personal responsibility for contacting our local and state officials. We must commit to making our voices heard; otherwise, we will continue to die in silence and alone on the nation’s most deadly roadways.