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For many New Jersey residents, exploring the state on a bicycle is a great way to get exercise while reducing the strain on the environment. Unfortunately, traveling the state by bike has also become much more dangerous in recent years, raising questions about what communities should do to better-protect their cyclists. 

According to Vice, bicycling has become so dangerous that the number of cyclists losing their lives has increased 25% since 2010, even though many cities and towns have made efforts to enhance cyclist safety within that timeframe. 

Cyclist fatality statistics 

It is worth noting that while cyclist deaths have risen sharply since 2010 and spiked 10% in 2018 alone, the overall number of road deaths has declined within this same span. It is also worth noting is that you face a far higher risk of dying on your bike when you are riding it in a city, rather than in a suburb or rural area. In fact, your chance of dying in a bike crash is 75% higher in an urban area than it is in a more rural community. 

Common contributors 

Why is it that fatal bike crashes are on the rise across New Jersey and the nation, and what kinds of reckless driving behaviors are partly to blame for the increase? 

Most cyclist fatalities occur when motorists strike those traveling by bicycle, and this happens for many different reasons. In many cases, driver distraction or inattentiveness is at least somewhat to blame for fatal bike crashes. Many cyclist fatalities are also the result of hit-and-run crashes, while others, yet, result from motorists running red lights while bicyclists are in the intersection. In 2017 alone, a total of 783 cyclists died in crashes with motor vehicles. 

“Dooring,” which is something that takes place when a driver opens his or her door while a cyclist is traveling by and strikes the cyclist or pushes him or her into the roadway, is also a common contributor to cyclist fatalities.