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Survey finds trouble for cyclists hitting the road in the south

A lot of Raleigh readers have probably noticed the growing popularity of cycling over the past few years. As more and more people take to the streets by bike, traffic safety advocates have begun to take a closer look at the safety of riding bikes and accident rates in states across the country. A recent survey found that southern states are much more dangerous for bikers than states in other parts of the country, by a margin as wide as a ten times higher likelihood of being involved in an accident.

One issue in many southern states is that there are not as many regular riders. As a result, biking is viewed more as a recreational activity than as a transportation method. In large part this is true, but a growing number of cyclists around the country reflect a desire by many to save money, be healthier, and reduce their carbon emissions. In fact, eight out of the ten states that are ranked as the most dangerous for cyclists also have the lowest numbers of cyclists on the road each year.

Biking advocates say that one of the best ways to encourage more investment in bike infrastructure is to simply have more riders on the road. However due to the unsafe current conditions it is hard to convince more people to join the pack when they are at such a high risk of injury. Here in North Carolina one prominent member of the Durham biking community lost his life in a 2013 hit and run accident. Advocates say that cars and drivers are largely at fault with one calling the situation "total lawlessness on behalf of drivers."

Source: The Atlantic, "Braving the Deep, Deadly South on a Bicycle," Aaron Reuben, March 7, 2014

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