Nearly 6 male cyclist fatalities were recorded for every female cyclist fatality
From 2006 to 2017, 5.6 male cyclist deaths were recorded for every female cyclist death (CVSD). Just under one-third of deaths involved cyclists aged 50 to 64 years (27%), followed by cyclists aged 35 to 49 years (22%) and 65 years and over (19%). The proportion of deaths was similar for cyclists aged less than 20 years and 20-34 years (16% and 15% respectively).
Approximately 1 in 3 cyclists involved in a fatal event was not wearing a helmet
Wearing a helmet is a recognized way to protect against head injuries while cycling. In 48% of cycling fatalities, information about helmet use was reported in the Canadian Coroner and Medical Examiner Database (CCMED).Note From 2006 to 2017, 32% of individuals involved in cycling fatalities were not wearing a helmet.
The proportion of cyclists who died not wearing a helmet was higher among men
In Canada, the proportion of cyclists who reported always wearing a helmet in 2017 was higher among women (49%) than among men (43%).Note According to CCMED data, 34% of male cyclists who died were not wearing a helmet, compared with 21% among female cyclists.
The proportion of cyclists who died not wearing a helmet was higher among cyclists under the age of 20
More than 4 cyclists in 10 (44%) under the age of 20 and more than one-third (34%) of those between 20 and 34 years were not wearing a helmet during the fatal event. The proportion of cyclists who were not wearing a helmet was similar among those 50 to 64 years (31%) and those 65 years and over (31%). Among cyclist fatalities between the ages of 35 and 49, 25% were not wearing a helmet.
Among cyclists involved in fatal events, 13% were wearing a helmet
Among cyclists involved in fatal events, 13% were wearing a helmet. Unfortunately, even when a helmet is worn, fatal injuries may still occur, such as very severe head injuries or injuries affecting other areas of the body such as the cervical spine or chest. This means that besides wearing a helmet, other factors could play a role in preventing traffic related injuries.
Alcohol and/or drugs may have played a role in 1 out of 10 cycling fatalities
From 2006 to 2017, alcohol and/or drug use by the cyclist may have played a role in 12% of cycling fatalities (CCMED). This represents 13% of male and 3% of female cyclist deaths.
The proportion of cyclists involved in a fatal event while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs varied by age group. The distribution was very similar among cyclists 20 to 34 years (17%), 35 to 49 years (14%), and 50 to 64 years (14%), however lower among youth aged 14 to 19 years (9%) and those aged 65 years and over (4%).
In approximately 1 in 3 cycling fatalities, road safety rules may not have been respected
From 2006 to 2017, not following road safety rules may have played a role in 32% of cycling fatalities (CCMED). It is possible that the cyclist, the other party, or both may not have followed the road safety rules.
A non-exhaustive list of examples are:
- Not stopping at a red light or obeying a stop sign, unsafe lane change or change of direction—both by the cyclist and the other involved party.
- Cyclist wearing dark clothing, no lights on the bike when riding at dusk, riding on the sidewalk, riding against traffic and wearing headphones.
- The involved party speeding, distracted driving, and opening the door of a parked vehicle into the path of the cyclist.
In 10% of fatalities, the coroner or medical examiner could not determine whether a contributing action or inaction had been made by one of the parties, often due to a lack of witnesses or unclear evidence. In 49% of fatalities the information about road safety rules was not available.
More than 5 in 10 cycling deaths occurred in an urban setting
More than 5 in 10 (56%) fatal cycling events occurred in an urban setting, compared with 14% in a rural setting (CCMED).
In both urban and rural areas, 4% of cycling fatalities occurred on bike lanes/paths, despite belief these are considered a safe space for cyclists. Factors observed in these deaths included vehicles and cyclists not properly sharing the road, cyclists’ not obeying a stop sign or red light, and collisions between cyclists. The information about setting and whether or not the cyclist was riding on a bike lane/path was not available in some cases (30% and 65% respectively).
Most cycling fatalities occurred during evening rush hour
The time of occurrence of the event was known in 51% of cycling fatalities. Between 16:01 and 20:00 is when the highest percentage (16%) of cycling fatalities occurred. This period corresponds to the late afternoon rush hour and the onset of nightfall.
Environmental conditions that affect visibility, such as darkness, rain or blinding sunlight, appear to have played a role in 21% of fatal cycling events.