SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Stockton and Sacramento County have fallen into a dubious distinction when it comes to bicyclists and deaths. Both now rank in the nation's top ten list for bicycle fatalities.
From 2011-2020, Stockton had 35 bicycle deaths ranking it 10th for cities in the United States. Sacramento County ranked eighth deadliest for the nation's counties with 3.2 deaths per 100,000 people, according to a getjerry.com which compiled the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
New York and Los Angeles topped the city list, respectively, for the deadliest metro areas for cyclists.
"I'm not terribly surprised," said Jennifer Donlon Wyant, transportation planning manager for the City of Sacramento.
In Sacramento, the city council has implemented "Vision Zero," a "traffic safety philosophy which rejects the notion traffic crashes are simply accidents." It's goal is to have zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2027.
The city is also using grant money to make it safer for bicyclists.
"So the engineering piece is building new bike ways, right? So, providing space for people who are biking, so they can do so and they can do so comfortably and be connected to the places they want, and then there is the education piece. So, we want to make sure that people biking understand the rules (so) they can understand what is expected of them, why we want them to bike a certain way, follow the flow of traffic," Donlon Wyant said.
The City of Sacramento has new separated bike lanes downtown and will expand them to the Florin Road area near the light rail station. The Stockton Boulevard area will also get safety improvements down the road.
Tyler Young of the San Joaquin Bike Coalition is an avid cyclist, who also works at Robby's Bicycles in North Stockton. He says the pandemic, as well as record high gas prices, have brought out more people who want to ride bikes.
He says there is lots of room for improvement when it comes to bicycle safety.
"I would like to see more bike lanes, more thorough bike lanes that go throughout the whole city, wider bike lanes with the protective barrier (and) signs up that say 'cyclists' and 'slow down,'" Young said.
The San Joaquin Bike Coalition says speeding with cars is a big issue. They say the faster cars go, the less survivable a crash becomes.