According to a new study, California leads the nation in bike deaths, with Florida coming in at a close second.

The report, released by the Governors Highway Safety Association reveals that nationwide between 2010 and 2012, bike deaths soared by 16 % – from 621 in 2010 to 722 in 2012.  California, with 338 cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles, and Florida with 329, had the highest totals during that period. Los Angeles Times Report on Bicycle Deaths

Fueling the problem, the report says, is lack of helmet use and alcohol impairment. In 2012, two thirds or more of fatally injured bicyclists were not wearing helmets, while 28 percent of riders age 16 and older had blood alcohol concentrations of .08 percent or higher. News for cyclists and bike commuters

The report’s author, former Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Chief Scientist Dr. Allan Williams, analyzed current and historical fatality data to uncover bicyclist crash patterns.  As an example, adults 20 and older represented 84 percent of bicyclist fatalities in 2012, compared to only 21 percent in 1975. Adult males comprised 74 percent of the total number of bicyclists killed in 2012.

Bicycle fatalities are increasingly an urban phenomenon, accounting for 69 percent of all bicycle fatalities in 2012, compared with 50 percent in 1975. These changes reflect a surge in bicycling commuters – a 62 percent jump since 2000, according to 2013 Census Bureau data.

While bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes increased in 22 states between 2010 and 2012, just six states – California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Texas – represented 54 percent of all fatalities.

“These are high population states with many urban centers,” Williams said, “and likely reflect a high level of bicycle exposure and interaction with motor vehicles.”

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