Every year, it seems that more and more cyclists are showing up on Colorado’s roads. This shouldn’t be too surprising. In addition to the incredible amount of exercise that cycling gives its riders, it provides a great way to forgo the need for automobile insurance, car payments, and costly vehicle repairs. Plus, riding a bicycle is just plain… fun.
Safety should always be your top priority when you take your bicycle out on the roadway. We thought it would be informative to provide you with a few bicycle safety statistics, but we should warn you – some of these statistics could make your wheels spin!
Increase in Bicycle Commuting
Riding your bike to work will save you money on car payments, insurance, and upkeep, and you’ll get tons of exercise, too. Those reasons and others are why so many people are riding their bikes to work these days. Just a few years ago, Colorado ranked as the number three state in the U.S. for the percentage of commuters who rode a bike to their job. It’s important to note that this likely contributed to Colorado also having the lowest percentage of obese adults (thanks, no doubt, to the increased exercise) and the highest number of adults who achieve the minimum weekly recommendation for physical activity. In other words, biking to work is a good way to improve the fitness of your body and your wallet.
Increase in Traffic Fatalities
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news for cyclists. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the number of traffic fatalities in Colorado rose by 29 percent between 2014 and 2017, resulting in 630 fatalities last year. Of that number, 16 cyclists lost their lives, which was the same as it was in 2016. While the lack of change between last year and the year before may be encouraging, it is important to note the number of bicyclist deaths was lower the two years prior to 2016.
45,000 Bicyclist Injuries in 2015
The most current statistics available from the U.S. Department of Transportation are from 2015 and show that 45,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic accidents that year. Although this number is huge, it represents a decrease of 10 percent from the previous year. And of those injured, approximately 800 were killed on a U.S. roadway. This is not an encouraging statistic and shows that we still have work to do when it comes to bicycle safety.
Alcohol Is a Big Factor in Bicyclist Deaths
In that same list of statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, 27 percent of the bicyclists who were killed in traffic accidents had been drinking, and 37 percent of the crashes involved alcohol consumed by either the driver or cyclist. These statistics show that alcohol and cycling are a dangerous combination and should be avoided whether you’re operating a motor or non-motor vehicle.
Helmets Make a Big Difference
Cyclists are not always required by law to wear a helmet when they ride, and many of them forgo that basic piece of safety equipment because of the lack of a law or ordinance. This is unfortunate because most serious cycling injuries are to the rider’s head. It is estimated that helmet use reduces the chances of head injury by 50 percent and the chances of head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent. In areas where a helmet law for cyclists has been enacted, the rate of wearing a helmet has increased by a factor of four after the law’s passage.
Being safe on your bicycle is just as important as being safe on any type of motor or non-motor vehicle. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and when they do, you’ll need an experienced attorney to fight for your rights. If you’ve been injured in an accident, be sure to call Mintz Law Firm right away for a free case evaluation.