This week’s news from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about 2021 traffic fatalities is not good.  Nationally, traffic fatalities rose 10% between 2020 and 2021.  Pedestrian deaths rose 13% and bicyclists deaths rose 5%.

Locally, the story is also bad.  PennDOT recently released its 2021 reportable fatality crash fatality statistics and a quick look at the figures shows that traffic fatalities have disproportionally fallen on bicyclists and pedestrians.

Across Pennsylvania:

  • 24 bicyclists died in 2021; the highest number in 20 years
  • Bicyclists deaths rose 9% between 2020 and 2021 and 50% between 2019 and 2021.
  • Pedestrian deaths rose 24% between 2020 and 2021.
  • Meanwhile, motorists deaths fell by 7% between 2020 and 2021.

In Philadelphia:

  • 8 bicyclists died (7 killed by motorists); the highest figure since 1997
  • 40% increase in bicyclists killed between 2020 and 2021 and a 250% increase between 2019 and 2021
  • 8% decrease in pedestrians killed between 2020 and 2021
  • Meanwhile, motorists deaths fell by 28% between 2020 and 2021.

These figures show that the effort to build better bicycle lanes and calm streets must be accelerated and prioritized.

The General Assembly must accelerate passage of HB140 to enable Philadelphia and every municipality in Pennsylvania to build parking separated bike lanes and City Council must greenlight the construction of new protected bike lanes.


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