Riding a Bicycle this Summer?
Riding a bicycle is a lot of fun, and it can be a healthy way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors – but it can be dangerous too. In the USA, in 2013 alone over 494,000 bicyclists went to an emergency medical facility due to a bicycle related incident; and over 900 bicyclists were killed.
What bicycle incident statistics tell us:
- What age groups have the greatest incidence of a deadly bicycle accident?
- Children and young adults (15-19 years) and folks 40 years and older have the highest bicycle related death rates according to the Centers for Disease Control.
- For non-fatal incidents 5-14 year olds plus 15-24 year old adolescents and young adults have the higher non-fatal bicycle incidence rates.
- Females tend to have fewer bicycle related injuries or fatalities than males.
- Urban areas tend to have higher incident rates than rural areas (no surprise here)
- It is not at intersections where most incidents occur, but rather “on the road” – this is surprising.
How can you be safer on a bicycle?
Wear a bicycle helmet
Bicycle helmets work. Yes they may not be flattering but it has been proven that they significantly reduce the risk of head and brain injury during a crash. Helmets are not just for children – everyone who rides should wear a helmet.
Wear a bicycle helmet that fits
Did you know that bicycle helmets come in various sizes, and that they are widely adjustable? The helmet should fit the head, and the straps should keep the helmet positioned correctly to protect your forehead in the event of a crash.
Act like a vehicle – because a bicycle is a vehicle
Did you know that bicycles (unlike pedestrians in most areas) have the same “right to the road” that cars and trucks do? And just like cars and trucks this means that you should follow traffic laws.
- Ride with traffic, not against traffic. A frequent cause of accidents is cyclists riding against traffic being hit by vehicles turning right – when the driver is focusing all of their attention over their left shoulder looking for oncoming traffic.
- Stop at stop signs and red lights – don’t just ride through them.
- In Georgia bicycles are allowed to ride two abreast – but be aware of the vehicles around you and adjust to single file when prudent to allow vehicles to pass.
Be visible to vehicles
- Wearing bright or fluorescent clothing can make you much more visible during the day
- Wearing reflective clothing and having reflective materials on your bicycle can make you much more visible at night.
- Consider installing a tail light, and use it both day and night to help drivers see you
- Use a headlight mounted on your bicycle when riding at night – both for you to see the road and for oncoming traffic to see you
Cycling is fun – and riding safely will keep you on the bike for many years to come. See you out on the road!