TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — There were 183 fatal bicycle crashes in Florida in 2021. Just under one-third were in Tampa Bay. The crash data for Florida was provided by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
FLHSMV reported there were 53 fatal bike crashes last year. Of those, 17 were in Hillsborough County, and 17 were in Pinellas County. The two counties represented 1,013 bicycle crashes overall. Statewide, there were 6,399 bicycle crashes in 2021.
Preliminary data for 2022, which covers accidents through June 16, showed 79 fatal bicycle crashes across the state, with 3,102 total bicycle crashes. FLHSMV reported nine fatal bicycle accidents in Hillsborough and three in Pinellas, year-to-date.
Across the United States, bicycle fatalities have only gone up year after year. From 2011 to 2020, the total grew from 682 fatal cyclist accidents to 938 in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
When accounting for the rate of fatalities per 100,000 people, Florida is the state with the highest number of bicycle accident deaths in the country, through 2020. In the Sunshine State, most bicycle deaths occurred in the 50 to 59 age range, typically in urban areas. From 2011 to 2020, 1,428 Floridians died in bicycle accidents, according to USDOT data.
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a part of USDOT, “For the whole of 2021, a statistical projection of traffic fatalities shows an increase of about 10.5 percent as compared to reported fatalities in 2020.” Florida had a 12.7% increase in overall fatalities on the road in 2021, according to NHTSA.
While that statistic is an estimate, and covers all types of accident fatalities involving vehicles and transportation, 2021 also showed increased fatalities for bicycle riders.
The NHTSA reported a 5% increase in “pedalcyclist” fatalities. However, the data in the NHTSA report is still regarded as an “early estimate” by the department. The early, or preliminary, data shows 985 pedalcyclist deaths in 2021. In a May release on the preliminary data, USDOT said the full data is expected to show increased numbers, once analysis has been completed.
“We face a crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in May. “With our National Roadway Safety Strategy and the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are taking critical steps to help reverse this devastating trend and save lives on our roadways.”