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Bicycle Safety

Reasons for Bicycle Crashes

Most bicycle accidents occur when a cyclist falls or crashes into a stationary object. Crashes are more likely to occur in conjunction with adverse conditions related to:

  • Weather
  • Road conditions
  • Mechanical failure
  • Poor rider judgment
  • Excessive speed
  • Lack of attention
  • Breach of traffic regulations
  • Coordination problems

Although the rules of the road and right of way are the same for both cyclists and motorists, other factors contribute to the disharmony that can occur between cyclists and drivers. Many motor vehicle drivers are often simply not aware of the presence of a cyclist on the road. In low-visibility conditions or at night bicyclists are difficult to see. The use of reflectors and a bicycle headlight gives you greater visibility to drivers.

Problems with alcohol can contribute to accidents, and inappropriate alcohol use is not limited to motorists.

  • About 37% of traffic crashes that resulted in deaths of bicycle riders involved alcohol intoxication by the motorist or the bicyclist.
  • In about 28% of all bicycle-related fatalities, it is the bicyclist who was intoxicated, not the motorist.

Many bicycle crashes occur when a bicyclist is riding against oncoming traffic.

Many people assume that riding a bicycle on sidewalks is safer than on roads. However, the risk of injury increases significantly if you ride on sidewalks. This may be due to the presence of pedestrians and stationary objects (parking meters, for example) lining sidewalks as well as a preference by inexperienced bicyclists to use sidewalks for bicycle travel.

In addition, children who generally are not experienced riders tend to crash while riding a bicycle for the first time or while riding a bike they are unfamiliar with.

Characteristics of Accident Victims

Children, teens, and young adults (from 5-24 years of age) account for about  60% of all bicycle-related injuries. Teens and young adults ( from 15-24 years) and adults (from age 45 years and older) have the highest rate of bicycle deaths

Men account for almost 90% of all bicycle injuries and deaths. Officials attribute this to males riding more than females.

Younger cyclists who are not familiar with rules of the road are far more likely to cause and be involved in a serious accident. Some advocate that children younger than 8 years should not be allowed on public roads.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that most bicycle deaths occur during the summer months, and almost 65% of the deaths occur between 5 and 9 P.M.

More bicyclists are killed in urban areas than rural areas, and more than half of bicycle deaths occur on major roads. More than one third of deaths occur at an intersection.

Almost one third of bicyclist fatalities occur on highways or freeways.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

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