Deadly Bicycle Crashes Are on the Rise in Sacramento

Bicyclists may enjoy cruising around the sunny streets of Sacramento, but just how safe is bike riding in the city? Not very, according to a local news team investigation. KCRA researched a recent upswing in fatal bicycle accidents in Sacramento to understand possible causes behind the increase. The news team found that some intersections are deadlier than others and that streets with a lower focus on pedestrian and bicyclist safety had higher rates of collisions. Before you board your bike in Sacramento, get the crash facts.

Sacramento Bicycle Accident Statistics

Bicycle accidents in the city of Sacramento injured and killed 231 victims in 2015, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. Eighteen of these bicyclists were under the age of 15. California’s year-over-year bicycle collision average is 1,060, with an average of 12.6 bikers killed each year (based on UC Berkeley crash data). Los Angeles County is the most dangerous in California for bicyclists, followed by San Diego and Alameda Counties. Sacramento County reported 2,851 bicycle collisions and 56 bicyclist deaths from 2013 to 2017.

The rate of fatal bicycle accidents in Sacramento has increased by 3% over the last few years, according to the KCRA investigation. Data from the investigation found that the riskiest time of day for bicyclists in Sacramento is between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. The most dangerous time for pedestrians is a rush hour (from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.). The deadliest intersections in the area for bikers are Stockton Blvd./Fruitridge Rd., 65th St./Fruitridge Rd., and Broadway/MLK Blvd. Most serious bicycle accidents occur when drivers aren’t expecting to see bicyclists.

What Causes Sacramento Bicycle Crashes?

It’s not enough to know that deadly bicycle accidents are “on the rise” in Sacramento – to keep yourself safe while biking, you need to understand why most of these collisions happen. Like other vehicle collisions, the number one cause of bicycle accidents is human error. Distracted and texting drivers, speeding, ignoring traffic signs, and failing to yield the right-of-way are all common reasons for Sacramento fatal bike accidents. Other factors that can increase the risk of a bicycle accident include:

  • The number of bikes on the road (upward of 4,000 per day in Sacramento)
  • Dangerous intersections and poor road infrastructure
  • Lack of safe bikeways and bicycle paths
  • Roadway hazards and defects, such as potholes
  • Drunk or reckless drivers
  • Drivers failing to pay attention to the road
  • Poor weather conditions

Lack of bicycle safety awareness may contribute to the higher number of fatal accidents in Sacramento. Many drivers and bicyclists don’t understand the city’s bicycle laws or the best practices for keeping vulnerable road users safe. The more you know about navigating the streets of Sacramento by bike or on foot, the safer you’ll be on your commute. Despite the rise in deadly accidents, you can keep yourself safe with a few tips and tricks.

Reduce Your Risk of a Fatal Bicycle Accident Injury in Sacramento

Be proactive about preventing bicycle accidents in Sacramento. As a vehicle driver, watch where you’re going, always keep a safe distance between your vehicle and bicycles, and obey all traffic laws. As a bicyclist, increase your visibility by wearing bright colors and equipping your bicycle with proper front and rear lights/reflectors. Follow all applicable roadway laws, such as biking in the same direction as traffic and signaling your intent to turn.

Never assume drivers see you and are going to stop. Instead, assume they don’t see you and aren’t going to yield the right-of-way. Defensive bicycling and being ready for anything could save your life. Don’t leave home without a federally approved bicycle helmet. Although bicyclists over the age of 18 don’t legally need to wear helmets in California, it can significantly reduce your odds of a fatal head or brain injury.