North Carolina is one of the top 10 deadliest states for bicyclists, and the counties in the Triangle are among the most dangerous in the state.
At No. 8, the state was averaging 25 deaths per year from 2010–2012. The data was released in a recent issue of Governing magazine.
Florida is the most dangerous state, with 5.7 annual deaths per million residents; by comparison, North Carolina has 2.6. The safest state is Maine.
The Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents transportation safety agencies, reported that nationwide, cycling fatalities are at a three-year high as of 2012, the latest year data is available. That year, 722 cyclists died in the U.S. that year in traffic accidents. The accident rate for bicyclists is increasing in urban areas, and decreasing in rural ones. With more than 1.25 million people living in the Triangle, a highly urbanized area, it's not surprising more bicycle-car crashes occur here.
Based on state transportation data from 2008–2012, Wake County ranked first in the state in bicycle-car accidents, both fatal and non-fatal; Durham County came in fifth and Orange County, seventh.
Last month, two local cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in Orange and Durham counties. Pamela Lane, 57, died from injuries sustained in an Oct. 3 accident in Chapel Hill. She was riding on the sidewalk along Martin Luther King Boulevard at 9:40 that morning when her bicycle collided with a car that was leaving a parking lot near Hillsborough Street.
Kent Winberry, 52, died Oct. 27, 10 days after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle near the intersection of Duke University and Chapel Hill roads in Durham. The driver, 84-year-old Ernest Lipscomb, turned left in front of Wineberry, according to police reports. The accident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. —Lisa Sorg
This article appeared in print with the headline "Danger on the road"