May 19, 2023 - News

Columbus' bike death rate has dropped in past decade

Bicyclist fatalities in major U.S. metro areas
Data: The League of American Bicyclists via NHTSA; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Columbus is getting safer for bicyclists, but riders and local leaders see more work to be done to make it a truly bike-friendly city.

Why it matters: May is National Bike Safety Month and area communities are improving their bicycle infrastructure to encourage cycling as a healthier, cheaper and greener alternative to vehicle travel.

State of play: Bike fatalities in Columbus have dropped considerably over the past decade as the city works toward a Vision Zero goal of ending crash-related deaths.

  • We recorded 1.3 fatalities per million residents between 2017-2021, down 57% from the local rate between 2012-2016.
  • It's one of the lowest rates of any U.S. metro area and around half the national average.

Yes, but: Tragedies may be rare, but still happen.

The latest: The city is planning to review all existing bike lanes and develop a new "interconnected network of low-stress bikeways" across town, Department of Public Service spokesperson Debbie Briner tells Axios.

  • Bike advocates see protected bike lanes like the one on Summit Street as the best way to keep riders safe from cars.
  • Columbus will soon install traffic posts and concrete blocks along an East Long Street bike lane as part of a pilot program, Briner says.

Elsewhere, communities like Bexley, Worthington and Grove City have plans to develop bike-friendly streets and better connect with existing trail networks.

  • Hilliard hosts summer "Safety Town" classes that offer helmets and bike safety tips to local kids.
  • The League of American Bicyclists honored Dublin last year for its pro-bicycling infrastructure.

The bottom line: It takes the concerted effort of city officials and encouragement from riders to improve bicycling conditions, but the region is gradually making progress.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Columbus.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Columbus stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Columbus.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more