As the number of Americans who commute by bicycle increases, injuries and deaths that are related to bicycle crashes is on the rise as well. With a fatality rate of approximately 21 per 100 million bicycle trips and nearly 500,000 emergency room visits due to biking accidents each year, the rise is cause for national concern.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 24 have the highest risk for suffering from nonfatal bicycle accident injuries, accounting for nearly one third of those seen in emergency rooms across the U.S., recent research reveals that the risk for bicycle-related injuries and death has risen significantly for older cyclists as well. In fact, between the years 1998 and 2013, the number of bicycle injuries for adults over the age of 18 climbed a full 28 percent, and the number of hospital admissions for that same age group soared by approximately 120 percent.
A rise in the number of cyclists over the age of 45 appears to be fueling the rise in bicycle injuries that result in emergency room visits and hospital admissions, according to research from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Bicycle-related injuries that resulted in emergency room visits for individuals over the age of 45 rose 81 percent during the 15 year period studied, accounting for an estimated 42 percent of all bicycle related injuries. Additionally, the number of hospital admissions for adults 45 and over increased 66 percent. Significant injuries aren’t the only concern for older bicyclists. A recent study published by the CDC reveals that while the number of bicycle-related fatalities among children age 15 and younger fell by a whopping 92 percent, the death rate for older riders increased significantly between 1975 and 2012. The study reports that the death rate for bike riders between the ages of 35 and 54 nearly tripled during the period studied.
Reducing the Risk For Bike Injuries, Deaths
Bicycle riders are at a significantly higher risk for suffering severe injuries or death in an accident than motor vehicle occupants. Fortunately, there are precautions that cyclists can take to help reduce their risk.
- Helmets: In the event of a bicycle accident, wearing a properly fitted helmet reduces the risk for head trauma that could result in serious, disabling injuries or death by an astounding 85 percent. In fact, in nearly 75 percent of bicycle-related fatalities, head injuries were involved and of those, 97 percent were not wearing a helmet.
- Bike Lanes: Streets that are equipped with protected bike lanes have approximately 90 percent fewer injuries per mile than those without.
- Bicycle Inspections: Riders should perform regular inspections of their bicycles before beginning a trip. Checking for the proper functioning of chains, brakes and tires can reduce the risk for an accident.
Defective bicycles, helmets or safety equipment, poorly designed roadways, inattentive motor vehicle drivers and others may be responsible for injuries that bicycle accident victims sustain. Individuals in Nevada who suffer bicycle-related injuries and decide to file a claim with a Las Vegas injury lawyer may be able to recover financial compensation for their damages when another person or entity is at fault.