Walking and biking are healthy, environmentally friendly transportation options. More people are walking and biking to work, cities are implementing bike share programs, and transportation planners are taking pedestrians and bicyclists into account.
Unfortunately, pedestrians and cyclists are at an inherent disadvantage when involved in traffic crashes: when a faster moving vehicle meets a pedestrian or a bicycle, the vehicle always wins. Further, as vehicle technology has improved to protect passengers, non-occupants remain equally vulnerable.
In 2017, 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States, 16% of all traffic fatalities. This is a 1.7% increase in pedestrian fatalities from 2016. 1
GHSA's latest Spotlight on Highway Safety Report on pedestrian fatalities projects that 6,227 pedestrians lost their lives on U.S. roads in 2018, the highest annual number since 1990. This would represent a 4% increase from 2017.
Each year about 2 percent of fatalities resulting from motor vehicle crashes are bicyclists. In 2017, 783 cyclists were killed,1 and recent research found that since 2011, an average of 55 additional bicyclists have died annually in the U.S. In 2015, 85% of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle-cyclist crashes were male, and the average age of those killed was 45.2
GHSA recognizes the importance of bicyclist and pedestrian safety, and its member State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) administer programs focused on improving safety for people who ride bikes and walk.
In 2017, GHSA released A Right to the Road: Understanding and Addressing Bicyclist Safety. Published through funding from State Farm®, this report analyzes national data to understand fatal bicyclist-motor vehicle crash characteristics, offering 30 actions steps to help State Highway Safety Offices and local communities assess and improve their current bicyclist safety programs.
In 2015, GHSA released Everyone Walks. Understanding and Addressing Pedestrian Safety. The report, made possible through funding from State Farm®, provides an overview of current pedestrian safety data and research and details how states are using this and other information to address pedestrian safety through education, enforcement and legislative initiatives.
GHSA partners with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) to promote and enhance pedestrian and bicyclist safety efforts. In October 2018, GHSA and PBIC co-hosted a webinar discussing pedestrian and bicyclist safety education for children. The webinar recording and slides can be accessed below.
1 National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2018, October). 2017 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview (Traffic Safety Facts Crash•Stats. Report No. DOT HS 812 603). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812603.
2 A Right to the Road: Understanding and Addressing Bicyclist Safety. GHSA, 2017. https://www.ghsa.org/resources/bicyclist-safety2017.