According to the CDC, there are approximately 800 to 1000 deaths per year of people while riding their bicycle. Over 500,000 emergency room visits each year can also be attributed to bicycle crashes, and the injuries they cause run the full spectrum from minor cuts and scrapes to amputations and traumatic brain injuries.
Most of the collisions between automobiles and bicycles happen at intersections and are caused by the driver not seeing the bicycle. Bicyclists are even less visible than motorcycles as bicycles do not have the benefit of having a bright headlight or noisy exhaust pipes. Even if a bicyclist wears a helmet, bright clothing and reflective tape, chances are that drivers are either not paying attention to bicyclists or are distracted by something on their mind or their cell phone. It is the responsibility of bicyclists to use their mental defenses and not rely on automobile drivers in order to stay safe and avoid devastating automobile/bicycle accidents. Thankfully their is a definitive solution to the bicycle safety problem.
The number one thing a bicyclist can do to stay safe is to schedule their daily bicycle ride to coincide with a time of the day that there will be the least number of cars on the road. Fewer cars on the road has always been the goal of states and federal government, not so much with a concern for safety, but more in order to save oil and gas resources and to cut pollution. People have to drive to and from work, so the roads are usually packed with fast-moving traffic between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. In addition the hours of 6p.m. to about midnight are also very busy as people drive to from shopping and social activities.
But that’s the good news! Knowing when there is going to be more cars and trucks on the road will make you aware of when “not” to ride your bicycle. and when it is the safest. The absolute best time to ride your bicycle you will be “statistically the safest” is during the early morning hours of between 4 and 6 am.
Statistics show that there are as many as 80% fewer cars on the road during these hours than in any other two hour period of the day. Because there are so fewer drivers on the road, your chance of being hit by an automobile or truck are reduced commensurately. Plus you’ll have the added benefit of riding when it’s cooler out and pollution levels are at the lowest point of the day. If you cycle for sport, enjoyment or exercise it just make total sense to ride in the early morning and leave the road to automobiles for the rest of the day.