Last updated: May 3, 2021, 7:54 A.M. MST
This Is Every Cyclist Who Was Killed by a Driver in 2020
It hasn’t been this dangerous to ride a bicycle on American roads in three decades. And in the face of our greater public-health crisis, more people than ever are riding bikes to avoid public transportation and to safely exercise outside. That means that as restrictions lift and cars begin returning to our roads at pre-pandemic levels, even more cyclists will die. This year, Outside is tracking every cycling traffic fatality. Read more about why we’ve embarked on the #2020cyclingdeaths project.
Outside’s Database of 2020 Cycling Deaths
Each week we’re searching news databases and local-news archives for reports on cyclist fatalities. Outside also welcomes tips. If you know someone who was killed or injured by a driver while riding their bike, tell us about it by sending an email to email@example.com.
To the Driver Who Hit Me and Ran
I was biking home when you barreled into me with your car and left me to die
The SUVs and Trucks We Love Are Killing People
Rugged, high-clearance, all-wheel-drive vehicles are great for getting out there—but at what cost to cyclists and pedestrians?
Here's What to Do if You're Hit by a Car
Being involved in a crash with a driver while on a bike or on foot is bad enough, but the trouble doesn’t always stop when you get yourself to safety. Navigating the justice and insurance systems afterward can also be an ordeal.
I Hit a Cyclist with My Car
A mountain guide, photographer, and cyclist had a sleepy moment on the road that resulted in her seriously injuring another rider. Here’s what she wants every driver to know.
This Is Our Chance to Reclaim Cities from Cars
The pandemic has led to an unexpected positive—people reclaiming streets in ways that have made urban America more bikeable, walkable, and enjoyable. Preserving that will take work, but it’s worth it.
They Went Out for a Bike Ride. They Never Came Home.
Nearly 700 people on bikes have been killed by drivers this year. This is who we lost.
The Problem at a Glance
Traffic Deaths on U.S. Roads Are Decreasing, but Cyclist Deaths Are Increasing
Click legend to toggle chart data
These are the deadliest states for cyclists.
From 2014 through 2018, 43 percent of cycling deaths happened in just three states: California, Texas, and Florida. These states comprise only 27 percent of the country’s population.
New York was the fourth-deadliest state for cyclists, and New York City in particular saw a significant increase in deaths during the past couple of years.
Don’t call it an accident.
Studies of fatal crashes from 2015 to 2019 found that:
involved a speeding driver
involved a drunk driver
were a hit-and-run
Our justice system favors drivers.
According to data collected by cycling advocate David Cranor for the nonprofit Greater Greater Washington, between 1971 and 2019, there were 132 cyclists killed by drivers in the Washington, D.C., area.
Of the drivers involved:
What’s Causing the Death Toll?
Americans are driving faster than ever.
In 1995, Congress removed the national maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour. Since then, limits on interstates and local roads have ratcheted higher–along with the proportion of cycling deaths on high-speed arterials.
From December 2017 to December 2018, speed limits were raised on 196 miles of roads in Los Angeles.
Higher speeds mean higher fatality rates. Below is the risk of serious injury or death when a person is hit by a vehicle at various speeds.
We’re driving more than ever.
The total miles driven by Americans from 1994 to 2017 increased by 854 billion, a 36 percent jump in 23 years.
We’re on our phones all the time.
of American adults admit to multitasking and driving
of drivers using a safe-driving app were actually distracted by electronics at some point while driving
We’re buying larger cars that keep getting larger—and are more likely to kill people on foot and on bikes.
The percentage of SUVs and trucks among new cars sold has ballooned.
A cyclist or pedestrian’s chances of dying increase by 50 percent if they are hit by an SUV or a truck instead of a sedan.
Research by Philip Kiefer
Illustration by James Round
What We Learned from Tracking Cycling Deaths for a Year
With the help of the nonprofit BikeMaps.org, we analyzed the data we collected on bicyclists killed by drivers in 2020 and found some surprising takeaways
Five Cyclists Were Killed in Nevada. How Do We Keep Riding?
In the shadow of tragic events like this, can we raise awareness of the dangers cyclists face without scaring people away from bikes? And how do we maintain our own love of cycling?
Stop Driving Over the Speed Limit
It's time for Americans to confront our deadly speeding addiction.
What Happens to a Cyclist's Body When It's Hit by a Car
A deeply personal story of one rider's painful saga—and what we can all learn from it
Why Outside Is Tracking Every Cycling Death in 2020
For Outside, bike safety is personal. We think something should be done. We think public policy needs to change.
Let’s Talk About How We Talk About Drivers Hitting Cyclists
The media’s been getting it wrong for a long time. Here’s why.
This Story Is Every Cyclist's Worst Nightmare
Triathlete Adelaide Perr sustained serious injuries after colliding with a car—then was saddled with proving, against the driver’s word, that she was a victim
The Driver Who Killed a Cyclist and Was Charged with Murder
Jennifer Lloyd was riding next to a friend when the Ford 500 sedan raced past. Lloyd, who estimates the Ford sedan was going 100 miles per hour down a two-lane road without a paved shoulder, turned to her friend and offered a blunt assessment: “That guy is going to kill someone.”
A Cyclist Writes His Own Obituary
Let’s get this straight: If something horrible happens to me on a ride, don’t ever say I died doing what I love
The Heartbreaking Creation of a Ghost Bike
The bicycle was black before it was white. It lay on the pavement behind Alan Nakagawa’s house in Los Angeles’s Koreatown neighborhood.