Cycling can have great health benefits for folks of all ages. This athletic activity has become very popular, more so among people age 45 or older. However, the increased popularity comes with rising risks. A study conducted by UC San Francisco over a 17-year period found that with the increased popularity of cycling, medical costs due to cycling accidents increased by $738 million annually last summer. The same study found that in 2014 alone, bicycle accidents cost around $24.4 billion, considering both fatal and non-fatal accidents. The study stated that rising costs were due to increased vehicle traffic, changes in vehicle designs, and increased use of bicycles for community purposes.
Outside of increased financial costs, data showed an increase in hospital admissions by 120%. Emergency department visits, especially among men, were found to have the most significant increase in accident costs. Many of these accidents also involved older people ages 45 and up. Injuries included:
- Broken limbs
- Internal injuries
- Brain injuries
- Fractured jaw
- Spinal cord injuries
The cost of these injuries not only includes medical costs, but also rehabilitation, nursing home stays, days lost, cost of lost work, and reduced quality of life. Depending on the severity of the injury, some cyclist accidents also led to fatalities. Between 2014 and 2017, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Report found that 73% of accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians resulted in fatality. If the trend documented by the UC San Francisco study is correct, this percentage is expected to increase in 2018.
The next time you go out cycling, stay alert to your surroundings. Traffic in California changes every day and so do the risks of being involved in a severe accident. Outside of wearing a well-fitting helmet, make sure to also use your head to make logical, sound decisions. Remember that your presence may be hard to notice by auto drivers and they may also not be so keen to give you the right of way. Be aware of any parked vehicles or people exiting their cars to avoid crashing and injuring yourself.
However, if you do have a bicycle accident, don’t hesitate and reach out to an experienced accident attorney as soon as you can. The attorneys at Dudek Law Firm have the firsthand cycling experience and legal knowledge you need.