A study recently published in the journal Injury Prevention put a price tag on the injuries caused by bike accidents from 1997 to 2013. Medical costs for nonfatal crashes during that time increased, on average, $789 million every year. In 2013 alone, the total cost was $24.4 billion, roughly twice as much as the cost for all occupational illnesses.
The study’s authors point to the changes in bicycle accidents over time as a reason for these increasing costs. In 1997, 46 percent of bicycle accident injuries occurred on a street. In 2014, nearly 67 percent did. Bike accidents that take place on streets come with several factors that can lead to severe injury and, as a result, higher medical costs. One major contributor is the velocity of the crash impact. Streets could also predispose to more injuries because they are often synonymous with high population density areas.
Another factor in the rise of bike accident injury costs is ride demographics. Older adult men (45 and up) are increasingly adopting cycling as a mode of transportation, and since 1997, the amount of medical costs due to older men and cycling have doubled.
Despite the rising costs of medical bills due to bike accidents, the study’s authors acknowledged that the health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risk of injury.