Sep 8, 2015

Why Biking Injuries and Deaths Are Spiking In the US

NPR reports that more and more adults across the U.S. are strapping on helmets and hopping on bikes to get to work. Unfortunately, between 1998 and 2013, the rate of bicycle-related injuries among all adults increased by 28 percent, from 96 injuries per 100,000 people in 1998-1999, to 123 injuries per 100,000 people in 2012-2013. And while the death rate among child cyclists has plummeted in the past four decades, the mortality rate among cyclists ages 35 to 54 has tripled. Dr. Benjamin Breyer isn't sure what's driving the surge in accidents among Generation Xers and baby boomers, but one reason could be what's known as the Lance Armstrong effect. "After Lance Armstrong had all of his success at the Tour de France, a lot more people were riding, and there were a lot more older riders that took up the bicycle for sport."

The most recent National Household Travel Survey showed that the vast majority of the increase in bicycling between 1995 and 2009 came from Americans older than 25, with the biggest increases coming in the oldest groups. That has meant more men in their 50s and 60s on road bikes, riding at high speeds, Breyer says — a recipe for serious injuries. Though a rapidly growing share of older people would like to ride, American cities built during the last 60 years don't make it easy for most people to do so. At the end of the day, reducing cycling accidents may boil down to something simple: Making sure that bikers know the rules of the road — and that drivers know how to deal with bikers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.