Last year was a good year for road warriors—so long as they were on four wheels, not two. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today released its analysis of 2011 traffic deaths, and overall fatalities sank 1.9% to 32,367, outpacing the 1.2% drop in the number of miles driven by motorists. But while deaths tied to passenger vehicles sank 4.6%, bicycle deaths took an 8.7% jump, from 623 in 2010 to 677.
A highway expert attributes the rise to the increase in people commuting to work or biking for fun. The AP puts some stats behind the assumption, noting that Washington, DC, has seen a 175% increase in rush-hour bicyclists since 2004. In other two-wheel news, motorcycle deaths also rose. The 2.1% jump marked the 13th time in the last 14 years that there has been an increase. (Read more bicycling stories.)