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More American Pedestrians and Cyclists Are Getting Killed on the Roads

What's really happening is that overall traffic deaths have fallen sharply, while pedestrian and cyclist deaths have remained flat.
Bikes Beat Cars as Cities Tackle CO2, Congestion
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

More Americans are walking and bicycling to work, which is great as a means to reducing the risk of heart disease, obesity, and stress. But there's a grim side to this otherwise healthy change in behavior: More pedestrians and cyclists are now involved in traffic accidents.

Pedestrians accounted for 14 percent of traffic deaths in 2013, according to a report released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, up from 11 percent in 2004. For cyclists, those figures increased from 1.7 percent in 2004 to 2.2 percent in 2013. What's really happening in the chart above is that overall traffic deaths have fallen sharply, from about 43,000 in 2004 to about 33,000 in 2013, while pedestrian and cyclist deaths have remained flat.