I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just like to hunt around on the internet for neat sites to reference about my hobbies and passions. Since I am an avid bicyclist, as well as a bicycle accident injury lawyer, I was hunting around today for cites with information on bicycles and bicycling and even bicycle accidents and how to avoid them. I found a great bicycle site. This cite has just about everything you want to know (example: how to make sure your bike fits right), some things you didn’t know you wanted to know (example: unusual bike models), and some things you DON”T want to know (statistics for bicycling accidents and fatalities). The stats are pretty dismal. Here’s a sampling:
• One in every 20 cyclists is injured annually.
• A bicyclist on average has a minor injury every three years and a more serious every fifteen years.
• Cars are to blame in 75% of car-on-bicycle collisions • Most at-fault car drivers who kill cyclists get off the hook — 74% of them in New York don’t even get ticketed! (there is a bias against cyclists even among law enforcement).
• The first car crash ever reported in the United States involved a car-on-bicycle collision in 1896.
• About 700 cyclists die a year in the United States.
• Per mile of driving/riding, cyclists are more than 5 times more likely than motorists to die.
• About 44,000 cyclists have been killed in bicycle crashes in the United States since 1932.
There is also an interesting discussion about “safety in numbers” for bicyclists. In places where there are A LOT of cyclists (e.g., Amsterdam, Holland), the fatality rate for cyclists is lower. Conversely, places with few cyclists have a greater bicyclist fatality rate. This is because motorists are on the lookout for bicycles when they are used to seeing a lot of them, but when they are not, they just don’t notice them.
There is also a very interesting analysis of whether the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks. In other words, do the total number of life years lost through cycling fatalities add up to more than the number of years gained through improved fitness of cyclists? Answer: the benefits in terms of life-years gained outweigh the life-years lost by a ratio of 20 to 1.
So fellow cyclists – keep cycling! The risk is worth the gaim in health, joy, and happiness. And if you play it safe, and follow the rules of the road, you can reduce the risk and still get all those benefits.