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SUVs injure cyclists more severely than cars, report shows

SUVs cause more significant injuries than cars in collisions with cyclists, according to new reporting from the IIHS.
A cyclist in Philadelphia
Posted at 10:55 PM, Apr 13, 2023

SUVs are more dangerous for cyclists than cars in collisions, according to new reporting from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The group found the taller front ends of SUVs are more likely to knock cyclists over, compared to how cars tend to roll riders onto their hoods during a collision. A rider who is knocked over also faces greater risk of then being run over.

The report showed that because they're often knocked over, cyclists in collisions with SUVs were more than twice as likely to sustain impact injuries, compared to those in collisions with cars.

Pedestrians cross Market at Fourth St. in downtown San Francisco.

Report: Pedestrian deaths on the rise across the US

More than 3,000 pedestrians were killed in the first half of 2022, an increase of 5% from the same period in 2021.


IIHS analyzed 71 bicycle crashes with SUVs and cars in Michigan. Trucks were not included in the research, since there were not enough collisions recorded to render useful results.

IIHS found both that SUVs caused more severe head injuries than cars, and that "trauma to the body as a whole" was higher in collisions with SUVs than with cars.

IIHS suggests the prevalence of pickups and SUVs on U.S. roads may have contributed to the trend of cyclist fatalities over the last decade. The Department of Transportation says that in 2010, 618 bicyclists died in collisions with motor vehicles on the road. In 2020, 938 riders died.

The new research is consistent with an earlier IIHS study, which analyzed a similar sample size, also from Michigan. It concluded that SUVs present a greater risk to pedestrians than cars for similar reasons: the front grilles and bumpers of SUVs are typically higher than those of cars.