A dump truck struck and killed a bicyclist Monday in Mid-City, New Orleans police said.
The collision, which happened about 1 p.m. at Canal and South Broad streets, marked at least the fifth fatal crash of the year involving a bicyclist. By comparison, there were three bicycle fatalities for all of 2014 in the city.
Few details of Monday’s accident were immediately available, and authorities did not release the name of the bicyclist. No arrests were made.
Tyler Gamble, a New Orleans Police Department spokesman, said it was too soon to say who was at fault in the crash. He said investigators were still recreating the collision.
The crash points up a troubling spike in bicycle fatalities in the city. In March, a 45-year-old rider was killed at Canal Street and Jefferson Davis Parkway. In April, a 49-year-old man was killed on South Saratoga Street after riding through a stop sign and being struck by two cars, police said.
The following month, a 70-year-old bicyclist was killed late at night on Martin Luther King Boulevard at South Claiborne Avenue when he ran through a red light and hit a pickup driven by a New Orleans police officer, according to police. And last month, another man was killed on Elysian Fields Avenue.
“Myself and many others who walk, take public transit and/or bike are very concerned with safety,” said Naomi Doerner, a New Orleanian who works as an advocate for the national Alliance for Biking and Walking.
Overall, bike accidents, fatal and otherwise, more than doubled in Orleans Parish over five years, from 129 in 2010 to 308 in 2014, according to numbers from the Highway Safety Research Group at LSU. Just over seven months into 2015, the five fatalities in New Orleans place the city’s bicyclist death rate at more than five times the national average.
Comparing the rate of cyclist deaths in New Orleans to other urban areas is difficult, however, as national figures only count fatalities by state. Those figures show that cyclist deaths more than doubled in Louisiana from 2010 to 2012, when 23 cyclists were killed in the state, according to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration counted an additional bicyclist fatality in Louisiana for 2012, placing the deaths at 24. That put the state’s rate of bicycle fatalities at 5.22 per million residents, more than double the national rate that year.
James Gallagher, a spokesman for the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, a clearinghouse funded by the federal government, called 2012 “a really bad year” for cyclist deaths in Louisiana.
Things calmed down a bit in 2013, the most recent year for which national figures are available. Fourteen bicyclists were killed in Louisiana in 2013, about 2 percent of the 743 killed nationally.
What’s lacking in the jarring figures, Gallagher said, is a handle on just how many more people are riding bikes these days, nationally or in New Orleans, where advocates have been pressing with some success for more and more bicycle-only lanes.
What the national studies do show are the most common factors leading to bicyclist deaths.
At the top, by far, is failure to yield a right of way, at 31 percent. Failure to obey traffic signals and bad visibility rank next, followed by drug or alcohol use.
Nationally, about six times as many pedestrians are killed as cyclists, according to the most recent NHTSA report.
The GHSA study charting bicyclist deaths from 2010 to 2012 found that 23 states averaged five or fewer bicyclist deaths per year over that span.
New Orleans alone has reached that figure already this year.
Monday’s fatality in Mid-City came about an hour before a bicyclist in Baton Rouge was killed while crossing Goodwood Boulevard, authorities said.