Bicycle Accident Statistics in Washington and the U.S.

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Bicycle accidents are a significant problem across the state and the country. Reviewing statistics gives us an idea of some associated risk factors and trends that might exist. If a rider is injured in a bike accident that a motorist caused, the bicyclist can file insurance claims and maybe a lawsuit to recover compensation.

Bicycle Accidents in Washington

According to preliminary data from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), there were nine serious injury bicycle accidents and one fatality in 2012 in Pierce County, which includes Tacoma. Meanwhile, King County saw 34 serious injury crashes and four fatal crashes involving bicyclists.

The WTSC also reported that across the entire state there were 81 serious injury bicycle accidents and 11 fatalities in 2013. Over the years 2008 to 2012 in Washington, there were 561 serious injury bicycle accidents and 47 fatal bike accidents.

Bicycle Accidents in the United States: Demographics, Time & Location

Nationwide, there were 726 bicycle accident fatalities and about 49,000 injuries in 2012 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It marked the third straight year the number of bicyclist fatalities increased across the country. The 726 fatalities made up 2.2% of the total traffic fatalities.

Certain age groups are more at risk of being involved in a bicycle accident than others. For example, across the country the highest rate of injuries per million bikers is in the 10-15 age group with 321 per million. The next highest age group was 16-20 with 299 per million. In terms of fatal accidents, however, the age group with the highest rate was 45-54 with 3.93 fatalities per million, followed by 55-64 at 3.39 per million.

Males are also at greater risk than females. The fatality rate for men was 4.10 per million, while for women it was 0.56 per million. The injury rate for men was 255 per million, compared to 62 per million for females.

NHTSA reports that the hours 4 PM to 8 PM and 8 PM to 12 AM each saw 24 percent of bicycle fatalities. This could be because it's a time when both bicyclists and motorists are heading home from work, as well as when the sun goes down making visibility more difficult.

In terms of location, there were some trends as well. Sixty percent of accidents occurred at non-intersections, while 30% occurred at intersections. Nearly 70% of accidents occurred in urban settings, compared to about 30% in rural settings.

Bike Accident Causes and Contributing Factors

The 2012 National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior reported that 29% of bicycle accidents involve the cyclist being hit by a car.

Other factors that cause bike accidents were:

  • falling;
  • poor riding surfaces;
  • rider error;
  • crashing the bike; and
  • dogs.


Like any traffic accident, alcohol can play a role in bicycle accidents. Twenty-four percent of bicyclists who were killed in traffic accidents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08. Meanwhile, 32% of fatal bicycle accidents involved a driver or bicyclist with a BAC of at least .08.

Injured in an accident in Tacoma? Get Help from Max Meyers

If you suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, get legal help to recover compensation for your damages. Max Meyers Law PLLC will fight for your right to a fair settlement or judgment. Contact our office at 425-399-7000 to schedule a free consultation. 

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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.