Along with the release of the most recent bike safety statistics in San Francisco, the Department of Public Health revealed the safest and most dangerous times of day to be a cyclist in the city. If you enjoy riding a bike in the Golden City, you’ll want to take a look at this data to avoid the times when auto-versus-bicycle crashes are most likely to happen. And even if you have to travel during those times, you can plan ahead to ensure your trips remain accident free.
Late Afternoon and Early Evening Are the Worst Times to Cycle
The TransBase data for 2021 indicates that the time frame when most bicycle accidents happen is between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Last year, there were 146 accidents during this time slot, 54 more than the next most-dangerous time, which was between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., with 92 accidents. Evening rush hour (well, hours) overlaps the 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. time slots, so it makes sense that this is when most bicycle accidents occur. More traffic on the roads, both motor vehicles and bicycles means more chances for crashes to happen.
Additionally, especially in the winter, the latter part of the 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. time frame and all of the 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. time frame falls after the sun has gone down, making it more difficult for drivers to see cyclists. Even if riders take precautions for riding in the dark, including lights, reflectors, and reflective clothing, they are still harder to see in the dark.
Late Evening and Early Morning Are the Safest Times to Cycle
There were only nine reported bicycle versus motor vehicle accidents between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. in 2021 and just 26 accidents between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. Even though it’s dark outside for most of these hours, there are significantly fewer vehicles and cyclists on the roads during these times. The odds of bicycle crashes go way down when the streets are less crowded. The few accidents that did occur during these hours were probably related to the darkness or inattentiveness of drivers not expecting cyclists to be on the road.
Thursdays and Fridays Are the Most Hazardous Days of the Week for Cyclists
In addition to knowing when the most dangerous times of the day are to ride a bike, cyclists in San Francisco should also be aware of the most dangerous days of the week. The most auto-versus-bicycle accidents in 2021 occurred on Thursdays and Fridays, each totalling 68 crashes. Wednesday was not far behind, coming in with 64 bicycle accidents.
It’s unknown why more cyclists are involved in accidents during the last three days of the work week, but it’s probably due to the fact that more people choose to ride their bikes later in the week than they do on Mondays and Tuesdays. This could be because it’s difficult to get motivated to exercise earlier in the week or because people tend to skip their workouts on Monday and Tuesday and know they have to make up for it the rest of the week.
The data makes it clear that it’s more dangerous to ride a bike in San Francisco during rush hour and when it’s dark outside. Understanding this can help you make choices that will keep you safer even if you decide to hop on a bike during these times.