How do you get to work when you’ve got cars going quickly, a plague impatient drivers, too many distracted drivers, traffic jams and all around assholery going on?

Did you say bicycle?

And you wonder why your friends and co-workers are getting knocked off.

Hit-and-run crash deaths are rising nationwide, and pedestrians and bicyclists account for close to 70% of the victims, according to a new report, as more people cycle to work and motor-vehicle fatalities are at a near-decade-high level.

The number of hit-and-run fatalities jumped 61% from 2009 to 2016, the most recent year for which data are available, according to the report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

About 68% of fatal hit-and-run victims in 2016 were pedestrians or cyclists, compared with 61% a decade earlier, according to federal data cited in the report.

In 2016, 1,980 fatal hit-and-run crashes across the U.S. resulted in 2,049 deaths—both record highs in the roughly four decades that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has tracked such data, the report said.

“On the one hand, these statistics are a bit deflating. On the other hand, we can hope they serve as a wake-up call,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research.

A big reason for the rise in fatal hit-and-run crashes is that deadly car crashes are up overall, the foundation said. Traffic-related fatalities surpassed 40,000 last year, the second year in a row, according to the National Safety Council.

Mr. Nelson said one possible reason those deaths have risen is growing distraction in the smartphone era. A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association said texting by drivers and pedestrians alike may help explain why pedestrian deaths have hit their highest levels in decades.

Another potential factor Mr. Nelson cited is the push by public health officials to encourage people to walk and bike more. The downside, he said, is those activities make people more vulnerable in the event of a crash involving a car or truck.

The number of bike commuters nationwide has ebbed in recent years, but rose nearly 40% from 2006 to 2016, when 864,000 rode to work, according to the Census Bureau.

To improve safety, he said, pedestrians and cyclists need physical barriers like protected bike lanes—an idea gaining popularity around the U.S. but also causing fights in some places over reduced parking or travel lanes.

The AAA report says state legislatures are cracking down on hit-and-run drivers. In every state it is illegal for a driver involved in a crash to flee. Over the past five years, more than a dozen states have passed new laws typically boosting jail time, fines and the length of a driver’s license suspension. But the report said researchers have found legal sanctions don’t appear to have a deterrent effect.

Mr. Nelson said motorists should know that staying at the scene isn’t only the law, it can help ensure victims get prompt medical care.

The ultimate aim is to prevent crashes, he said, and his message for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists is: “Just pay attention, open your eyes, keep your head up and focus on what you’re doing.”

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  1. Leonard Jones says:

    One of the things I noticed long ago is that even after two major oil crisis, is that
    despite rising fuel prices, suburban housewives are driving demand for SUV’s.
    These soccer moms understand that vehicle mass = safety. If a Yugo is no
    match for a Suburban, what chance does a pedestrian or bicyclist have?

    What is not mentioned in this story is the percentage of hit and run accidents
    are attributable to unlicensed illegal aliens. It is surprisingly simple: Juan
    gets tanked up at the local cantina and takes out a pedestrian or cyclist. What
    incentive does he have to stay and take his punishment? Once free of the
    scene, he can abandon his unregistered $700 rust bucket, head to Macarthur
    Park and have a whole new identity within a day or two. He has no fear of
    the authorities unless he is caught at the scene of the crime or later connected to
    the crash via forensic evidence. This is especially true in “sanctuary” cities
    and states.

    PS Some months ago, I mentioned that 72 or 73 percent of California voters
    oppose sanctuary cities. At the time, I wondered why no polling was available
    on opposition to illegal immigration. It just came in. 59 percent of California
    voters oppose illegal immigration. Keep an eye on this state in November!

    I would not be surprised to see the lions share of these fatal hit and run
    incidents can be attributed to illegals.

  2. Eskyman says:

    Another component is that far too many bicycle riders think they own the road.

    Here in CA, it’s like they think they’re a protected species: stop lights don’t apply to them, they can cycle down either side of the road in either direction, they sneer at “bike lanes”- the entire road belongs to them; they flip off drivers of automobiles whose taxes pay for the road they’re hogging, just to add insult to injury as they cut the cars off from the turn they’re trying to make. When it suits them, they act like pedestrians & use crosswalks; that doesn’t mean they have to get off their bikes and walk, oh heavens no.

    Near me is a coast road lined with shops. Parking is scarce, and the road was once two-lane with slanted parking. Now it’s one lane for vehicle traffic, one lane for bikes, and there’s no parking. This doesn’t lead to happy happy joy joy for everyone! The bikes, who now have an entire lane to themselves, are often found on the sidewalks running down pedestrians who aren’t quick enough to get out of their way.

    Personally, I’d like just one day a year where it was open season on those goddam bike riders!

  3. bogsidebunny says:

    We’ve lost the “humanity” I knew growing up in the 1950’s. Today people communicate from a distance using the fucking smart phones. No eye to eye contact. So everyone lives in their own universe and when two human entities they vie viciously for space each thinking the other is an unwanted obstacle in the way. Driving and bicycling have morphed from recreational to confrontational.

  4. Deplorable B Woodman says:

    Where’s that YT compiled video of John Wayne shooting the bicyclists? Pure gigglesnort comedy gold.

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