Bicycle Theft & Injury in California

Explore the benefits of owning a bicycle insurance policy in the state of California

Cyclist riding along the beach

California is a beautiful state with incredible cycling spots for every type of rider. Are you a cruiser? Head down to La Jolla in San Diego, or the Venice Beach Boardwalk. More of a mountain biker? Give the Mount Tamalpais Summit Loop a try.

If you’re more of a road cyclist, the Presidio Promenade is a must-see. But, as most cyclists already know, California can also be dangerous for cyclists when it comes to theft, injury, and even fatalities.

What’s in this article?

California Bicycle Theft Statistics

According to The Best Bike Lock, California is a contact chart-topper for cyclists in the United States. Not only do Los Angeles and San Francisco make the top ten list for bicycle use in the US, but San Francisco also makes the list for cities with the highest bicycle theft counts.

A list released by People Powered Movement lists both LA and San Francisco as two of the top ten most dangerous cities for cyclists. Interestingly enough, the same report lists San Diego as one of the safest in the US.

The FBI also releases reports outlining different types of theft in the United States each year. Here’s a look at the most common types in 2017 and it’s important you notice that bicycle theft is sixth in line. In the US alone, millions of bicycles are stolen and cyclists are left without options. Many cyclists don’t even report theft because the chances of bike recovery aren’t outstanding.

California Bicycle Injury Statistics (Non-Fatal Injuries)

According to a California Department of Public Health report, cycling injuries are alarmingly high in California. The report was published in 2018 and covers data spanning between 2007 and 2013 — and here’s a summary of what they found.

  • Cyclists were more likely to be injured during rush hour traffic, during the summer, and in an urban area
  • Although cycling injuries in rural areas are less frequent, more of them are fatal than non-fatal
  • California experienced a 24% increase in cycling injuries between 2007 and 2013
  • Cyclists age 45 and over-represent the majority of cyclists injured in traffic-related accidents

In total, California saw upwards of 87,000 cycling injuries during that time span with an average injury rate of 33%. The California Department of Public Health concludes the report with recommendations for cyclists to avoid injury on the road including:

  • Wearing brightly colored riding apparel
  • Obeying traffic laws
  • Using bike lanes when available
  • Avoid cycling under the influence of alcohol

They also recommended drivers don’t operate vehicles under the influence and that they give cyclists enough space when sharing traffic lanes.

Woman wearing bicycle helmet and sunglasses

Bicycle Fatalities in California

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) releases detailed reports each year outlining important information about traffic-related injuries and fatalities. Here’s what they found about cyclist fatalities in California over the last few years.

Year

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Cyclist Fatalities

100

116

129

147

129

136

155

145

165

133

The data doesn’t seem to fluctuate wildly and averages about 135 cyclist deaths per year — and these numbers only outline cyclists who’ve died in accidents related to traffic or vehicles.

If you’re a cyclist in Los Angeles County, you have a little more to worry about. LA County leads California’s cyclist fatality count with 106 deaths between 2016 and 2018.

Sacramento County had about 47 cyclist fatalities during those same years, and Orange County experienced 32. San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Riverside, Santa Clara, and San Diego counties also had relatively high numbers.

Unfortunately, cyclist fatalities in California may be caused by several different factors including:

  • Drivers using cell phones
  • An increase of drivers on the road and an increase of commuter cyclists
  • Vehicle ride-share programs leading to more cars on the road

As well, different types of vehicles cause different types of injuries. For example, a cyclist who is struck by a larger truck is more likely to experience a chest, neck, or head injury than a cyclist who is struck by a traditional car that sits lower to the ground.

Bicycle injuries, deaths, and theft plague the cycling community across California. It’s important to always wear a helmet, lock up your bicycle, and invest in a quality bicycle insurance policy that offers medical coverage assistance.

For more information about bicycling in the United States, take a look at these helpful resources:

Finding Your Bike’s Serial Number

Registering Your Bicycle Online

College Campus Bicycle Theft

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