The number of bicycle injuries and deaths in the United States and in Kentucky can be reduced with proper safety and by following some basic rules. As the temperatures become warmer, we see an increasing number of bicyclists on our roads and sidewalks. Bicycling is typically not mentioned when discussing sports injuries - even though the injury rate is higher than football's. In 2013, over 900 bicyclists were killed in the United States, and there were an estimated 494,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data from 2010 show fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of over $10 billion!
This summer, as you and your family hit the pavement and the trails, keep safety in mind. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself while riding a bike is to wear a helmet. According to the American Association of neurological Surgeons, riding a bike without a helmet is more dangerous than any contact sport. In 2009, 86,000 head injuries that resulted in a trip to the hospital were due to bicycle accidents. In comparison, 47,000 were from football injuries. In addition to head injuries, cyclists suffer neck and spinal injuries, skin abrasions, and fractured bones.
Here are some suggestions on how to protect yourself and your family while riding:
- Always wear a helmet
- Ride with traffic as far to the side of the road as you can.
- Ride on bike lanes and trails when possible.
- Use headlamps, reflectors, and reflective tape on clothing and helmets to make yourself visible to drivers.
- Don't use earbuds or earphones while biking.
- Signal when turning and obey the laws of the road.
Unfortunately, even when exercising as much safety and caution as possible, bicyclists can be severely injured because of the carelessness of motor vehicle operators. Every year in Kentucky we see far too many people injured or killed while on a bicycle simply because motor vehicle operators are not paying attention or keeping a look-out for bicyclists. Contact one of our legal professionals if you or a loved one has been injured on a bicycle due to someone else's carelessness.