Bike Injuries on the Rise

A recent study confirmed that there was a sharp increase in the number of adult bicycling injuries between 1998 and 2013. The study involved data gathered in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, combined with U.S. Census information. It revealed that the increase is driven, in part, by rising injuries in bicyclists older than 45. According to one study author, ridership among people in that age group is at an all time high.

The increase in injuries to older riders is substantial. Less than one-quarter of bike accident injuries involved riders over 45 in 1998. By 2013, 42 percent of injuries were suffered by riders in that age group. In terms of population, 96 bike injuries were reported per 100,000 people in 1998. In 2013, that number had risen to 123 injuries. The injuries may be increasing in severity, as well. Hospital admissions records show that 5 people per 100,000 were hospitalized in 1998 compared to 11 per 100,000 in 2013.

Bicycling safely in the United States is a challenge. According to a sustainable transport policy researcher from Rutgers University, the injury and fatality rates for cyclists in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands are substantially lower than in the U.S. He also pointed out that bike ridership is up, with the total number of bike trips taken in 2013 representing a 23-40 percent increase from 2001. As more people choose bicycles as a means of transportation, whether to commute or just for pleasure, the problem is expected to grow.

Source: Reuters, “Bicycle-related injuries on the rise in U.S.,” by Kathryn Doyle, 1 September 2015

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