Bicycle use is on the rise and most experts agree this is a positive development for individual health and environmental protection. But increased bicycle use has also resulted in a growing number of accidents and elevated costs associated with these accidents. In fact, deaths among cyclists rose at a higher rate than deaths among drivers, pedestrians or any other individual on the road. The majority of fatal accidents and serious injuries were triggered by a car driver failing to see and yield to a cyclist on the road, thereby causing a collision.
According to research on bicycle use, between 1997 and 2013, there were 3.8 million non-fatal accidents and 9,839 deaths involving adults. In 2015, bicycle deaths increased by 12.2 percent to total 818. The estimated costs of bicycle accidents annually were approximately $24 billion, a 140 percent increase from 1997 when the cost was $9.3 billion. Surprisingly, the current costs of bicycle injuries are nearly double the costs of workplace injuries.
Factors associated with Rising Number of Injuries
There are a number of factors that are driving these statistics. First, there is an overall increase in the number of cyclists on the road, which at least partially accounts for the growing numbers of deaths. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, approximately 34 percent of Americans over the age of three rode a bicycle one or more times in the prior year.
Second, the spike in injuries is highly linked to the current demographic of cyclists. The number of older bicycle riders has grown significantly, and the resulting injuries tend to be more serious or even fatal in this age group. The total number of deaths in the older age group increased from 255 to 582 between 1999 and 2013, while the corresponding number of deaths in the group of riders between 18 and 44 years old decreased.
The Costs of Bike Accidents
Higher medical costs from accidents are similarly attributed to increases in overall ridership and older cyclists. Approximately 26 percent of costs were attributed to bicycle riders over the age of 45 in 1997. In 2013, this figure rose to 54 percent. Riders in the older age group typically have underlying conditions and more serious health issues that result in extensive medical costs and prolonged recovery periods.
The Bottom Line on Cycling
Experts agree that the significant public health advantages of using a bicycle over other modes of transportation should be taken into account when analyzing these statistics. In addition, more can be done to alleviate the number of bike accidents. One of these measures includes revamping the cycling infrastructure. While this is among the costliest of solutions, it may also be the most effective in reducing injuries and deaths and encouraging more Americans to use bicycles for transportation.
If you or a member of your family suffered injury or death as a result of negligence or a defective automobile, contact the attorneys Alexander Law Group, LLP. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and get you the maximum compensation that is possible. Call 888.777.1776 or contact us online.