Bicycling is one of the healthiest fitness activities you can engage in. However, if you're involved in an accident on your bike, you might not survive -- especially if the accident involves getting struck by an automobile.
A quick review of the most recent bicycle accident statistics will reveal just how dangerous bicycling can be. For the reasons that follow, if you don't already wear a helmet when you take to the streets on your bike, you might want to consider heading to your local bicycle store to buy a helmet immediately.
Bicycle accident statistics: The numbers don't lie
The website "Helmets" features the following illuminating statistics pertaining to bicycle crashes from 2015:
- In 2015, 818 bicyclists died in crashes in the United States. This represented a mortality increase of 12.2 percent when compared to the previous year. It was also the highest number of reported bicycle accident deaths since the year 1995.
- In 1975, bicycle death statistics were as high as 1,003. Roads were less congested back then and drivers weren't distracted by cellphones. However, this was also a time when wearing helmets while riding bicycles was uncommon. There were also fewer bike lanes then.
- 2015 saw a 10 percent decrease in bicyclist traffic injuries. There were 45,000 bicyclists injured in traffic-related incidents that year.
- The average age of bicyclists killed in traffic accidents was 45.
- Eighty-seven percent of the bicycle deaths were men, and 83 percent of the injured bicyclists were men.
- Only 3 percent of the bicycle accident deaths happened in bike lanes.
- Twenty-seven percent of the bicycle-related deaths happened to bicyclists who had been drinking prior to the accident.
The most important thing you can do on your bike
If you don't already know it, the most important safety step you can take on your bike is to wear a helmet. Helmet use dramatically decreases your risk of death in a bike-related incident. It also dramatically decreases your risk of suffering a debilitating brain injury.
There's no way to be completely safe on a bicycle in traffic
Unfortunately, no matter how safe you are on your bicycle, you'll still be at risk of getting struck by an unlawful, reckless, intoxicated or negligent motorist. If such a motorist injured you due to no fault of your own, learn as much as you can about your legal rights. Speak with an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other economic and noneconomic losses.