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Keeping bicyclists safe takes work on everyone's part

mom and daughter biking.jpeg

Bicycling is a great way to get fit and stay that way. Being able to see the sights around the area and enjoying time on the bike paths and roadways is a big pull for some people who are ready to get active, even in the winter.

Although biking is a great way to enjoy exercise, it isn't necessarily one of the safest. Keeping bicyclists safe depends on the bicyclists and motorists since people on bikes are more likely to suffer an injury or die in a crash than a vehicle occupant.

Who is most likely to suffer injuries in bike accidents?

In the span of just one year, more than 1,000 people died in nearly 500,000 bike-related accidents. When you consider that bicycling only accounts for about 1 percent of all trips in this country, you can see what a big issue bicycle safety represents.

Children are the most likely to be injured in bicycle crashes, but older adults are more likely to suffer fatal injuries. More than one-third of emergency room visits related to bicycling injuries occur with children ages 5 to 14 and 15 to 19. Adults who are 50 to 59 years old are the most likely to perish from their injuries.

Gender is another risk factor that must be considered. Males are four times more likely to suffer an injury and six times more likely to die than females in a bicycle accident.

Alcohol, protective clothing and safety measures

One interesting thing to note with bicycle accidents is that alcohol is a big factor. Considering only fatal accidents, 37 percent had some type of alcohol involvement, either by the bicyclists or the motorists.

One of the best ways that bicyclists can protect themselves is by wearing helmets. A properly fitted helmet can reduce the chance of brain and head injuries if there is a crash.

Another preventative measure is for bicyclists to wear bright clothing with reflective properties. This increase in visibility can also be achieved by using lights and reflectors on the bicycle. Many local and state laws regulate what is required.

Anyone on the roadways must follow proper safety protocol. Since bicyclists ride in the same space as motor vehicles, motorists and bicyclists alike must follow right-of-way laws to ensure that there aren't any accidents. When a bicyclist is involved in a crash with a car, the car usually wins. If you have been injured by a negligent driver or defective road conditions while you were biking, learn about your options for obtaining compensation to pay your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

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