It sounds like a good thing- more adult men take to bicycling as a means of running errands, commuting, and generally getting from point A to point B. There is, however, a downside: more adult bike fatalities. A new study reports that as the popularity of bicycling increases among adult males in the United States, so do the life-threatening dangers.
The report did indicate a silver lining, however. The research indicates fewer bike-related fatalities for U.S. children than in previous years. Researchers believe this could be due to less children riding bicycles these days, although, increased bicycle helmet use could also be a factor. Also, overall, the annual number of cyclist deaths decreased during the study period.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison study, led by Jason Vargo, analyzed U.S. national statistics for the years 1975 to 2012. The team ascertained that the profile of the average bicycle rider has altered drastically over that period of time. Essentially, more adult males ride now, and fewer kids, than in previous generations.
One of the largest increases came between 2000 and 2012, when the number of U.S. bicyclist commuters increased 61 percent. Men ages 25 to 64 represented most of that growth, while rates for women and children fell.
Similarly, the fatality rate for cyclists under the age of 15 dropped 92 percent between 1975 and 2012, while the mortality rate for cyclists ages 35 to 74 climbed significantly. The largest increase in cyclist deaths was witnessed by the 35 to 54 age group, with that number almost tripling during the study period. By 2012, males represented 87 percent of all bicycle-related deaths.
Among the states, fatality rates varied greatly. According to the study, Florida has the most bike-related deaths, and Vermont has the fewest.
Many “bike-friendly” cities have already implemented safety procedures, such as dedicated bike lanes physically separated from other traffic, stricter speed limits, more speed bumps, and more comprehensive community awareness of bicycle/motorist behaviors. The research indicates these have been effective, but to minimize the number of bicycle-related deaths, these techniques must be implemented on a broader scope.
These techniques, along with time-tested safety methods, such as improved road design and engineering, stricter enforcement of traffic laws, and more widespread helmet use will work together to create a multi-faceted approach to bicycle safety.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to know where to turn to for help. Contact the law firm of Fuicelli & Lee, PC, for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award. Call our office at 303-355-7202 or fill out our confidential contact form.
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