Pennsylvania bicycle fatalities doubled in 2009

Photo from Flickr user Anna!

This is a repost from the PA Walks and Bikes Blog.  PA Walks and Bikes is a new statewide bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, working in Harrisburg to help move Pennsylvania from the bottom of the League of American Bicyclists’ “Bike-friendly States” list to the top.

In a press statement released yesterday, PennDOT officials noted that bicycle fatalities across the state doubled in 2009 to a total of 16, including for minors.  Following this somber announcement, PennDOT presents a series of tips for safe riding.  Certainly, cyclists would be well served to follow the safety tips recommended by PennDOT.  However, PennDOT dropped the ball by failing to recognize the role of the other party in these collisions: the motor vehicle operator.

“Riding a bike is great exercise, but any time you ride along a road, even a neighborhood street, you need to keep safety in mind,” PennDOT Secretary Alan Biehler said. “Bicyclists need to be responsible by following some basic safety advice, including being visible to motorists and being predictable in their actions. Motorists also need to remember to watch for bicyclists and share the road with them.”  We couldn’t agree more, Mr. Biehler, but what steps can motorists take to share the road?

WDUQ out of Pittburgh followed up with PennDOT to share some safety tips for what drivers can do to prevent bicycle fatalities too.  We hope that the next time PennDOT discusses bicycle safety in a press release, they take a more holistic approach to keeping our roads safe for all users.  Thanks to WDUQ for telling the whole story!

Here’s what WDUQ suggests:

For Motorists:
• Give bicyclists space, even when there is no bike lane.
• Remember that bicycles have an equal right to the roadway as motor vehicles.
• Be cautious when passing bicyclists, as they may turn unexpectedly.

For Bicyclists:
• Equip your bike with reflectors and a horn to help motorists be aware of you.
• Follow the same traffic laws as motorists.
• Stay on the right side of the road, riding with traffic.

Not a member of BikePGH? Join today! We need you to add your voice! Bike Pittsburgh works to protect cyclist’s rights and promote the vision of making Pittsburgh a safer and more enjoyable place to live and to ride. For more info, check out:


  • Mick says:

    It’s a shame that they are described as “bicycle fatalites” when most, if not all, of them are car fatalities where the victim is a bicyclist.

  • maddox22 says:

    Given the third bullet for motorists, I would think an important fourth bullet for both parties would be “Signal your turns”! I see riders all the time (both on my bike and in my car) who just cut across a lane or make a turn without signaling (and we all know that many drivers think the turn signal is a decoration). It’s important for everyone on the road to remember that the other people cannot read your mind. If you’re going to turn, SIGNAL it!

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