If you are one of the many people who love to ride your bike or get out on foot and enjoy the chance to get some exercise in the fresh air instead of always being cooped up in a gym, you are not alone. The Bay area is an ideal place for this type of recreation as the temperate climate makes it enjoyable for these activities virtually year-round. However, regardless of the season or the weather, you will face risks when sharing the road with drivers.
Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the decade spanning 2009 through 2018 show that starting in 2009, traffic deaths among pedestrians and bicyclists in California increased every year through 2013. Among pedestrians, fatalities declined slightly in 2014 but then increased again every year until 2017, dipping again just a bit in 2018. Among bicyclists, fatalities also declined slightly in 2014 only to climb again until 2016, followed by a drop in 2017 and another jump in 2018. In 2014, 567 pedestrians and 99 bicyclists were killed statewide. In 2018, those numbers increased to 893 and 155, respectively.
Between Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Contra Costa Counties, a total of 515 pedestrians and 93 cyclists died in the five years spanning from 2014 through 2018.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in the greater Bay area an overview of the realities they face when riding a bike, walking or running and the importance of taking action if and when an accident occurs.