It seems that not a week goes by without a story on the news of another bicycle accident, with a cyclist killed while riding. Cyclists are especially vulnerable in a crash, as there is no frame protecting their body. Even with helmets and proper protective equipment, fatalities can and do occur. As cyclists and bicycle crash attorneys, we are aware of the statistics.
We believe that all cyclists should be aware of the risks associated with bicycling. It is important, however, to keep in mind that there are millions of cyclists on the road, and although crashes occur far too frequently, fatalities are still a relatively low risk. By knowing the facts associated with bicycle crash statistics, fatalities, and injuries, you can take appropriate actions.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiles data on vehicles involved in crashes with cyclists. In 2015, 818 bicyclists lost their lives in crashes with vehicles. This startling figure represents a 12.2 percent increase from 2014. Bicyclists can easily be overlooked by car drivers, due to their smaller profile. The largest number of accidents occur in intersections, when cars fail to see and sometimes strike bicyclists. Bicyclists can increase their visibility by wearing bright colors, using lights and reflectors, and using hand signals to alert drivers when they prepare to turn.
During 2015, 45,000 bicyclists reported being injured in vehicle crashes. This statistic is likely skewed, as researchers suggest that only approximately 10 percent of injuries are reported. That means that the number of injuries could actually be nearly 500,000 per year! These injuries range from broken bones, internal injuries, and head injuries. Head injuries are often the most egregious injuries, as they can cause brain damage. Many brain damaged cyclists must deal with the repercussions of their bicycle crashes for the rest of their lives.
The National Safety Council reports that the total cost of cyclist death and injury is $4 billion each year. They determine this figure by calculating a cost per event for bicycle fatalities and bicycle injuries, and then multiplying that by the number of annual events. Again, this number is likely to be artificially low, as many cyclists do not report their injuries.
These bicycle accident statistics are concerning, but cycling remains a relatively safe mode of travel. As cities and even suburban and rural areas add infrastructure for bicyclists, more bikers hit the streets. Bike lanes and specific paths for bikers make the sport safer for all.
When considering the risks of bicycling, one must also take a moment to reflect on the benefits. Cycling is great exercise, but studies have found there are a number of other reasons you should ride your bike. Bicycling has been shown to decrease stress levels, help manage anxiety and depression, and improve overall mental health. In addition to lowering weight, bicycling improves cardiovascular fitness and overall strength and flexibility. A study by King’s College London showed that cyclists may even live longer. The study compared 2400 identical twins and found that when one rode a bicycle just three times a week for 45 minutes each time, they lowered their biological age by 9 years.
If a bicycle accident does occur, there is plenty you can do! First, seek medical help. Far too many bikers assume that the aches and pains they experience after a crash will go away in a few days, leaving them none the worse for wear. But in many cases, these aches and pains may mask greater injuries, and those minor pains may give way to major health problems. It’s always better to get completely checked out right away, even after relatively minor crashes.
After caring for your immediate health and wellbeing, it’s important to have an experienced bicycle attorney on your side. Andrew Kass, from Kass & Moses, is an avid cyclist and represents injured bikers across the country. His experience both in the lifestyle and the courtroom makes him a true asset in bicycle crash cases. Contact Mr. Kass at 1-844-BICYCLE anytime if you have been hurt in a bicycle accident.