Louisiana second most deadly state for bicyclists

    With a rate of 3.9 deaths per 100,000 people between 2007 and 2016, Louisiana is the second most deadly state in which to take a bike ride, trailing only Florida, The Wall Street Journal reports.  

    New Orleans, with 3.8 deaths per 100,000 people over the same time frame, is the sixth most deadly city for bicyclists among the nation’s 50 largest metros, according to federal data.

    While Baton Rouge has an even higher rate—at 4.2 deaths per 100,000 people—it’s eclipsed by some other Louisiana metros, including Lake Charles (4.4), Lafayette (5.2), Hammond (6.3) and Houma (8.1).

    The number of cyclists killed in motor-vehicle crashes nationwide hit 840 in 2016—the most recent data available—according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That was the most since 1991 and a 35% jump from 2010.

    A range of likely reasons explains the rise in deaths, including more overall vehicular traffic and driver distractions, according to people who track transportation trends.

    Texting by drivers remains a big problem, says Deborah Hersman, chief executive of the nonprofit National Safety Council. Alcohol is also a factor. In 2015, 22% of fatally injured cyclists, and 12% of drivers in these crashes, had a blood-alcohol content level of at least 0.08, the legal limit for motorists in most states, according to the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association.

    At 6.2 deaths per 100,000 people, Florida has far more bicyclist deaths than any other state.

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