While traffic deaths from vehicle crashes are on the decline, deaths for pedestrians and cyclists are headed upwards. Cyclists killed in accidents increased by over 6 percent in 2018.
The reasons behind the spike in deaths for cyclists include a number of likely factors.
The national view
An article in the New York Times cited an increase in distracted driving as a likely cause, as the number of cyclists killed in 2018 rose to 857. Researchers estimate that upwards of 3 percent of drivers are talking on a cell phone at any given time. The rise in bike deaths occurred largely in urban areas, with rates of fatalities increasing 48 percent from 2009 to 2018. Another likely factor in cycling deaths is the increase in the size of vehicles on the road. The larger size of the vehicle creates more force in a crash, and the size of the vehicle may make it more difficult to see bikers due to more blind spots, especially the rear window.
The state view
Louisiana is a dangerous place for cyclists, ranking second in the country for the rate of cycling deaths. According to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, citing federal data, New Orleans ranks as the sixth most dangerous city for bikers between 2007 and 2016. The article mentioned larger vehicles and distracted driving, but it also revealed the role alcohol plays in Louisiana fatalities. Both the bicyclists and the drivers in fatal crashes sometimes operated under the influence of alcohol, with 22 percent of cyclists and 15 percent of drivers measuring over 0.08 blood alcohol content level. Florida remained the most dangerous state for bikers.