Roadway Fatalities Down in 2013, But Bicycle Deaths Rise

Susan Jones | December 29, 2014 | 9:13am EST
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A bicyclist in Washington, D.C. (AP File Photo)

( - In 2013, 32,719 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States, a 3.1-percent decrease from the 33,782 fatalities in 2012.

The Transportation Department says the number of fatalities decreased in every category (cars, trucks, motorcycles) -- except for bicycles.

At a time when the Obama administration is encouraging people to walk or pedal, bicycle fatalities increased by 1.2 percent in 2013, to 743 from 734 the prior year.

Pedestrian fatalities declined by 1.7 percent to 4,735 in 2013, but DOT said that number is 15 percent higher than the record low of 4,109 pedestrian fatalities in 2009.

In September, the Transportation Department acknowledged the "boom in non-motorized travel" and released its "action plan" to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, which amounted to 17 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in 2013.

"Over the course of the next year and a half, the Department will be doing more to address nonmotorized safety issues and help communities create safer, better connected bicycling and walking networks," the report said.

Among other things, DOT will "promote infrastructure and design improvements to ensure safe and efficient routes and facilities are available wherever people walk and bike."

The agency also is "examining the potential" for vehicle-to-pedestrian communications technology, which could help drivers better see pedestrians and bicyclists.

Earlier this year, DOT announced grants totaling approximately $1.6 million for public education and enforcement initiatives to improve pedestrian safety as part of the Department’s "Everyone Is a Pedestrian" campaign.

Also See:
Dept. Of Transportation Rolls Out $47M for Bike and Pedestrian Paths (Sept. 2014)

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