Cyclist Deaths Rise Despite Car Safety Improvements

Jul 17, 2019 11:09 AM EDT | Hannah Smith


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that the number of cyclist deaths rose 10% last year despite increasing safety improvements on automobiles. Front collision detection systems and blind-spot warning systems have been unable to curb cyclist deaths.

Driver and passenger deaths in automobiles have slid, down 1% from the year prior.

Pedestrian deaths have also risen by 4% as more drivers are distracted behind the wheel. Smartphone usage is to blame for a lot of these deaths, as drivers remain on their phones despite local laws.

The deadliest hours to drive are after-work rush hours between 4 pm and 7 pm.

Cyclists and pedestrians have to remain more cautious about automobiles.

"It's much safer for people inside," claims the League of American Bicyclists.

Automakers are rolling out bicycle and pedestrian detection systems as part of their automatic braking systems. These systems will stop the vehicle if a driver does not see a cyclist or pedestrian ahead. The systems are not standard, and the automakers that do offer these systems often offer them as an optional system.

European regulators have started to take action against rising cyclist deaths. The NHTSA claims that the US has lagged behind its European counterparts. Officials claim that it's like "pulling teeth" to have lawmakers this of pedestrian safety technology and move forward with any advancements in the industry.

The NHTSA does not suggest a reason for the rise in pedestrian and cyclist deaths, but a lot of industry experts blame distracted driving for the trend. Drivers are taking their eyes off of the road, with over 88% of people using their smartphone when driving.

One recent study found that 35 out of 60 minutes of driving were driven while the driver was in motion.

A pact among automakers aims to curb the number of deaths facing pedestrians on roadways. The pact includes 20 automakers which have all agreed to equip their vehicles with emergency braking systems by September 1, 2022. The automakers in the past have entered into the agreement voluntarily in an effort to make roads safer.

The IIHS predicts that automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to prevent 28,000 crashes per year and an additional 12,000 injuries by 2025. Systems that are available are becoming more advanced, and this may lead to a higher reduction in accidents and injuries.

Volvo's safety experts claim that they have made numerous adjustments to their system, yet it's difficult to reduce the number of false interventions by the vehicle.

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