How cycling is safer than driving

May 26, 2014

Biking season often comes with an increase in safety concerns. Cycling is sometimes regarded as unsafe, as accidents are widely reported. Did you know that research shows that cycling is safer than driving?


Some number crunching of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics determines that the risk per hour of cycling versus driving is roughly equal. Cycling trips tend to be shorter, with less mileage covered per year, making cycling safer due to less exposure to potential risks. As a bonus, not only is biking safer than driving, in the long term cycling extends your life by keeping you healthier!

cycling safety


Cycling gets safer as more cyclists get on the road. Bicycle commuting in the US has increased by 43% since 1990, and cycling fatalities have decreased or remained constant during that same time, from 677 cyclist deaths in 2011, down from 718 in 2008 and 853 in 1990. When bicycle commuting becomes a regular part of city life, cities build more reliable infrastructure, and driver awareness increases, helping cities get safer for cyclists. Realizing the power of the growing number of cyclists, the city of Toronto just developed an app that tracks cyclists movements in order to inform city planners on cycling habits and to help create more a more reliable and safe network for cyclists.


Cycling is perceived as one of the most dangerous forms of transportation. A cycling safety study out of UCL has determined that the perceived danger regarding the safety of cycling has been largely due to the spreading of errors in published papers and police reports, which overstate cycling injuries. In 2011, bike accidents in the US accounted for only 2% of motor vehicle fatalities, yet when a cyclist is involved in an accident, those stories get a disproportionate amount of coverage, making cycling seem like it is much more unsafe than driving a car or walking.

Credit: LifeCycle


It is important to dispel the notion that cycling is more dangerous than driving and encourage more potential cyclists. Research shows that cycling is safer than driving and that the risks of cycling are vastly overstated versus the risk of drivers and pedestrians.

Regardless, a cyclist is still vulnerable and accidents can happen. Obey traffic laws, bike safely, light up your bike at night, explore your city’s bike paths, and wear a helmet (if you choose to!). It is our responsibility as cyclists to take our safety into our own hands.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Oopsmark

Cycling Copenhagen Denmark biking culture
Denmark by Bike: Copenhagen Cycling Culture

November 08, 2017

I began my cycling sabbatical in Denmark. Copenhagen is one of the most cycling friendly cities in the world, so I was excited to see how they make it work. I was surprised to see that

View full article →

Digital Nomad Travelling by bicycle Maker
Digital Nomad on a Bike

July 27, 2017 2 Comments

For the next several months, i'll be bicycle touring around Europe as a digital nomad. With me, I'll have everything i need to live, work and stay creative. This time is intended as a creative sabbatical from the workshop to

View full article →

Montreal Studio
Oopsmark Studio Tour

February 01, 2017

Making a new studio has been a blast. If you're making thing from scratch, why not make it just the way you want it?

View full article →

Stay in the Loop

Stay tuned for more free-cycling adventures & inventions.