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Bicycle Safety

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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.

Preventing Injuries

Many injuries can be prevented by proper selection equipment, adjustment of the bicycle to the individual rider, proper maintenance, and using common sense in how the bicycle is supposed to be riden.

Appropriately-sized frames, handlebar, and seat heights as well as understanding how the gear system works help reduce injuries.

Legislation Promoting Safety

Perhaps the easiest step a rider can take to prevent bicycle related injury and death is to wear a helmet. Unfortunately, many riders disregard this, placing themselves at great risk.

Mandatory helmet laws do increase helmet use, which reduces significantly the number and severity of head injuries. Studies show that use of helmets can reduce severe injuries by almost 85% in addition to reducing the number of bicycle-related fatalities.

Simply owning a helmet will not insure safety. It must be used! Children should be monitored to be certain that they are not avoiding helmet use because of peer pressure.

Helmet need to fit properly be worn correctly. A proper fit helps a bicyclist get the full benefit of helmet use. A poorly fitting helmet will provide significantly less protection.

Currently, only 21 states have laws requiring helmet use by young bicyclists. Some local communities have enacted ordinances mandating the use of helmets while bicycling. Over two-thirds of bicycle-related deaths could be prevented by the use of a protective helmet.

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