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I was kind of expecting this. Car reposessions are WAY UP. Automobile vehicle miles traveled is WAY DOWN. The unemployment is hitting double digits. So loads of people are being priced out of automobile transport... that means loads of people breaking out their dusty old bicycles who can hardly remember how to ride them - and hitting the road (or sidewalk).

Also, accidents always go up during times of crisis, economic or otherwise. Lots of people loosing their jobs & houses, they are displaced from the routes and locations they are familiar with, so on. People drink more, etc.

But considering how many people have stopped driving, I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually a bit safer biking now because, obviously there are fewer cars on the road and more bikes.

I would avoid drawing any broad conclusions about cycling trends just based on the NHTSA report. There is a pervasive data collection problem--especially when it comes to bicyclists and pedestrian deaths and injuries. The problem starts at the local level with law enforcement, which tends to have trouble getting accurate information on a crash report. That assumes a report is even filed after you get hit by a driver. Or you take yourself out while riding. Or you get doored. Lots of these incidents are not counted, or are recorded inaccurately. Some states are beginning to remedy this, and as a result, one state's accurate reporting can hugely skew the national numbers. The good news is that bigger cities are better at counting cyclists and their numbers tell us that the injury rate is dropping even as exposure is increasing.
Bottom line: NHTSA is all about helmets, seatbelts, and drunk driving.

I will never forget my first experience with death. I was eight years old when a good friend of mine, in my class, was killed on a bicycle right in front of our school. His picture was on the front page of the Washington Times Herald. I kept that page and it haunted me. I had to go to the accident site and stare at the stain on the street. The article said the driver of the car did not see the bicycle because it had no lights. What a shame. What a waste. Bicycle lights are so inexpensive. A little boy's life is priceless. You can get what you need for your little boy's bike online.

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