Consumers in California and across the United States are increasingly forgoing buying traditional sedans in favor of purchasing larger, heavier SUVs and trucks. While many people buy larger vehicles because they feel they offer more protection for their loved ones in the event of a crash, these big cars create big threats for everyone traveling outside of them.
According to Slate, SUVs first began outselling standard cars about 20 years ago, and their popularity has continued to climb in the years since.
How large cars impact cyclist, pedestrian safety
As the popularity of SUVs and large trucks skyrocketed in recent years, so, too, did the number of pedestrians losing their lives across the nation. In fact, pedestrian fatalities reached a 40-year high in 2021. Cyclist deaths also increase alongside large vehicle sales. Nationwide, cyclist fatalities increased by 44% between 2010 and 2020. A 2015 study also revealed that SUVs are between two and three times more likely to kill a pedestrian after striking him or her than a traditional sedan.
Why large cars impact cyclist, pedestrian safety
Because SUVs and big trucks weigh more than standard sedans, they exert more force on a cyclist or pedestrian than a smaller, lighter car would. This makes cyclists and pedestrians more likely to suffer serious and catastrophic injuries when struck. Big vehicles also have different leading edges than smaller vehicles, so they hit cyclists and pedestrians at higher points in their bodies, where they may cause more serious damage.
Because large vehicles create such as threat, some states and nations are considering charging drivers of large vehicles more to register them.