Bicycle safety is important to Christensen & Hymas, as we’re sure it is for you. As avid cyclists, it is our goal to provide a base of knowledge where anyone can find helpful facts, safety tips, and more. We encourage all cyclists to educate themselves about the law, and safe practices, to make the road a safer place for cyclists and motorists alike.
The last few decades have produced some interesting trends in cycling. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), cycling has increased in the U.S, both in total numbers and as a percentage of the population, over the last ten years. As a method of transportation, however, bicycles are still only used about 1% of the time (CDC). Though cycling accounts for a lower percentage of usage, cycling still presents dangers:
In 2011, 677 [cyclists] were killed and an additional 48,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. [Cyclist] deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities
As a percentage of total traffic fatalities, cycling accidents have increased from 1.5% in 2002 to 2.1% in 2011. The good news, however, is that overall fatalities have continued to drop for the past 10 years (meaning that both cycling accident rates and automobile/other accident numbers have decreased recently). The total number of fatalities in the U.S. was 43,005 in 2002, but has decreased to just 32,367 in 2011. Where do the accidents happen? The majority of pedalcyclist fatalities in 2011 occurred in
- urban areas (69%) and at
- non-intersections (59%).
When are bicycle collisions likely to occur? The two deadliest times for cyclists in (according to last 20 years of data)
- 4 PM – 8 PM: 31%
- 8 PM – midnight: 20%
Ages: What was the average age of injured cyclists? What about cyclist fatalities? (Year / average age of fatality / average of injured)
- 2002 – 36 – 28
- 2003 – 36 – 27
- 2004 – 39 – 29
- 2005 – 39 – 29
- 2006 – 41 – 30
- 2007 – 40 – 30
- 2008 – 41 – 31
- 2009 – 41 – 31
- 2010 – 42 – 31
- 2011 – 43 – 32
Overall averages: 2002 to 2011 –40 –30 Gender: The majority of the pedal cyclists killed or injured in 2011 were males (85% and 78%, respectively). The highest number of male fatalities were between the ages of 45–54 (130), and the most males injured were between 16–20 (6,000). Alcohol Involvement: Over 1/4 (28%) of all cyclists experiencing injuries and fatalities in 2011 had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit for driving.
In Utah, an average of 6 cyclists are killed and 850 are reported seriously injured each year. Nearly 60% of bicyclists involved in a bicycle/motor vehicle crash are younger than 20 years of age and more than three-fourths (79%) are male (Violence and Injury Prevention Program, UDOH).
Utah is one of 14 states with no state laws requiring the use of a helmet while riding a bicycle. In other states, that have helmet laws on the books, polls showed an 8.4% average increase in helmet usage. The most common serious injury resulting from bicycle on motor vehicle crashes are head injuries. Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85% (New England Journal of Medicine). A statewide helmet observational survey conducted in Utah in 2007 showed that:
- 23% of elementary school-age bicyclists,
- 14% of secondary school-age bicyclists,
- and 58% of adult bicyclists wear bicycle helmets.
Bicycle crashes cost victims and communities millions of dollars annually. In Utah in 2005, costs to treat bicyclists injured in crashes with motor vehicles at emergency departments and admitted to the hospital exceeded $6.8 million ( Center for Health Data, UDOH).
On a positive note, helmet use In Utah has increased 32% overall for all ages (from 4.6% in 1994 to 36.5% in 2008). View the full Utah helmet fact sheet, courtesy of Health.Utah.Gov. More statistics about bicycle safety in Utah can be found here.
Bicycle Accident related injuries can negatively impact the quality of your life. If you are suffering from injuries involved a bicycle accident contact Utah’s Bicycle Accident Lawyers and get the legal guidance you need.
Photo courtesy of Christensen & Hymas.
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