Bicycling has grown in popularity among adults and remains popular with children. Enthusiasts, young and old, can be seen traveling the streets throughout the country on both bicycles and tricycles and even unicycles. Still, they only account for one percent of all trips nationwide. Even more alarming, they also make up a tragic demographic when it comes to fatalities.
Close to 1,000 bicyclists lose their lives, with another 130,000 suffering serious injuries throughout the U.S. The costs of collisions exceed $23 billion in health care and lost work. Add to that the emotional toll of devastated and grieving loved ones.
Additional tragic statistics include:
- Adults from 55 to 60 years old account for the highest death rates
- Teenagers and younger adults account for the most receiving treatment in emergency rooms
- Riders from 10 to 24 years old make up approximately 30 percent of injuries
- Male death rates are six times higher, with injuries five times more than women
Locations of accidents make a difference as well:
- Twenty-seven percent of fatalities are at intersections, with sixty-four percent of fatalities away from these areas
- Alcohol use by drivers and cyclists accounts for approximately 33 percent of collisions resulting in death
Specific interventions exist to keep cyclists safer while minimizing injuries should a collision occur. Properly fitted bicycle helmets top the list of reducing the chance of head and brain injuries, regardless of age and experience on two-wheel, non-motorized transports. In Alabama, riders 16 years old and younger are required to wear them.
Flooring fluorescent clothing increases cyclists’ visibility while reducing the chance that a motor vehicle operator won’t see them. Similar strategies should also be employed on bicycles to increase the likelihood of being seen.