Last year was another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for SoCal bike riders.
But at least it was better than the year before.
According to our latest count, at least 82* people lost their lives while riding a bicycle in the seven county Southern California region last year, just two less than the previous year.
Although that figure is likely an undercount; I’ve heard of a half dozen or more deaths this year that I wasn’t able to officially confirm, but which undoubtedly happened.
It’s also the same number of SoCal bicycling deaths reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2019, the last year before the pandemic, when 81 SoCal riders also lost their lives.
The total for last year reflects the 26 bike riders I counted killed in Los Angeles County last year, which again is likely a dramatic undercount.
A total of 35 bike riders lost their lives in LA County in 2021, which was over twice the total of 17 that I had counted; I also counted 15 in 2020, compared to 27 reported by the NHTSA.
Which suggests that the local media is failing to report a number of bicycling deaths in the Los Angeles area, for whatever reason.
I also counted 14 bicycling deaths in the City of Los Angeles last year, which is in line with verified totals of 18 and 15 in 2021 and 2020.
Further afield, San Diego County suffered 12 deaths last year, which was a significant improvement over 17 in the previous year, though much higher than the 7 and 8 people killed riding bikes in the county in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Meanwhile, Orange County appeared to have their worst year in recent memory, with 17 people killed* riding bikes last year, compared to just 7 in 2021, 15 in 2020, and 13 in 2019.
Although it is important to note that only the totals for 2020 and 2019 have been verified by the NHTSA; 2021 data isn’t currently available through their website.
Riverside and San Bernardino Counties also showed increases last year, with 11 bicycling deaths in Riverside County, and 10 in San Bernardino County. Ventura County suffered 4 deaths — half the previous year’s total — while Imperial County recorded none for the third year in a row.
Here’s a quick recap of bicycling deaths for each of the seven counties.
Los Angeles County
- 2022 – 26
- 2021 – 35
- 2020 – 27
- 2019 – 38
- 2022 – 17
- 2021 – 7
- 2020 – 14
- 2019 – 13
San Diego County
- 2022 – 12
- 2021 – 17
- 2020 – 7
- 2019 – 8
- 2022 – 11
- 2021 – 9
- 2020 – 8
- 2019 – 5
San Bernardino County
- 2022 – 10
- 2021 – 7
- 2020 – 6
- 2019 – 7
- 2022 – 0
- 2021 – 0
- 2020 – 0
- 2019 – 6
- 2022 – 4
- 2021 – 8
- 2020 – 4
- 2019 – 4
Source: 2021-2022 BikinginLA, except 2021 LA County data from Los Angeles Times; 2019-2020 NHTSA FARS data
While compiling records of this sort is necessary to bring about desperately needed changes to our streets, it also reduces human tragedy and loss to a statistic.
So if you want to see the people behind these numbers who we’ve so needlessly lost, start here and just keep scrolling.
Photo by Ted McDonald from Pixabay.
Correction: A comment from Dawn made it clear that I had miscategorized a story about her father’s August death in Irvine.
*After correcting the error and adding it back into the totals for OC, that made 17 people killed riding their bikes in the county last year, and 82 in Southern California, instead of 16 and 81, respectively, as I had originally written.
My apologies for the mistake.
On a related subject, rural areas are becoming safer, while urban environments are growing ever deadlier.
And the photo at the bottom of this thread goes a long way towards explaining why.
Promising news about the new LA City Council Transportation Committee members we mentioned yesterday, at least two of whom have taken bike tours with the new BikeLA (formerly the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, or LACBC).
Meanwhile, new CD11 Councilmember and Committee Vice Chair Traci Park is one of us, as well.
Now if she just votes that way, we should be in good shape.
Transportation PAC Streets For All is hosting their next virtual happy hour next Wednesday, featuring my councilmember, CD4’s Nithya Raman.