Most would agree that biking to work is a good thing—good for reducing pollution, good for reducing our carbon footprint by conserving gas and oil, and good for keeping our bodies healthy and fit. Perhaps because of those reasons, it is more and more common to see urban landscapes transformed by the addition of bicycle lanes. There is possibly only one downside to more Americans bicycling to and from work, and that is an increase in bicycle accident injuries which is costing billions annually.
In fact, the journal Injury Prevention estimates that between the years of 1997 and 2013, medical costs for those injured in a bicycle accident has increased by almost $790 million per year. During the study period, there were 3.8 million non-fatal adult bicycle injuries, and 9,839 deaths related to a bicycle/automobile accident. There has been an even greater upswing among bicycle riders age 45 and older, therefore a resulting increase in bicycle accident injuries among bicyclists in that age group.
The number of bicycle miles traveled each year by those 45 and older increased dramatically from 1.9 trillion in 2001 to 3.6 trillion in 2009; the resulting medical costs for this age group increased from 26 percent in 1997 to 54 percent in 2013. In 2013, male riders made up the bulk of those injured in bicycle accidents (77 percent), and, therefore, the bulk of the medical expenses associated with bicycle accidents. It is theorized that males make up such a large percentage of bicycle commuters due to the fact that it is somewhat more difficult for women to ride their bicycle to work and arrive looking presentable.
The types of medical expenses related to bicycle injuries include:
Bicycle accidents have changed dramatically over the past few decades; while many years ago a significant number of bicycle accidents were “non-street” incidents, today the majority of bicycle accidents involving adults are collisions with automobiles. In 1997, only about 46 percent of bicycle accidents took place on a street, with a motor vehicle, while in 2014, about 67 percent of bicycle accidents involved a vehicle and took place on a street.
When a vehicle is involved in a bicycle accident, the resulting injuries are bound to be more severe than when an automobile is not involved. Aside from the impact of the vehicle, there are also many unyielding objects on city streets such as parking meters, telephone poles and fire hydrants. Bicycle injuries most often include broken bones, head trauma (particularly those who don’t wear a bicycle helmet), internal injuries, and spinal cord injuries. All of these injuries are extremely serious, and can result in long-term rehabilitation, and temporary or permanent loss of employment.
Despite the increase in bicycle accidents—as well as the cost consequences—researchers still believe that the health benefits garnered through regular bicycling outweigh the potential risks. A policy which focuses heavily on injury prevention as well as better infrastructure and roadway designs could reduce the number of bicycle accidents and subsequent injuries, while increasing the number of bicycle commuters and those who ride for exercise or enjoyment.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, our attorneys can help. At Rector Stuzynski LLC, our Colorado Springs bicycle accident attorneys have the experience and the resources to build a case that is designed to obtain maximum compensation for our clients. Call us today at 719-578-1106 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.
We serve clients charged with crimes or injured anywhere throughout the state of Colorado, but we focus on residents of these areas: Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Fountain, Monument, Black Forest, Pueblo, Canon City, Larkspur, Security-Widefield, Peyton, Castle Rock, Teller County, El Paso County, Elbert County, Park County and beyond.