Bicycles account for about 1 percent of all trips taken on the road, but cyclists face a much higher threat of death than other motorists. The Centers for Disease Control reports that in 2015, in the United States, over 1,000 bicyclists died and almost 467,000 people were injured in a bike ride.
Adults who are aged 50 to 59 have the highest fatality rate, but children aged 5 to 19 years have the highest amount of bicycle injuries. Men are more likely to be injured than women on bicycles. It is far more riskier to ride in an urban setting than in rural areas.
Although not every accident can be prevented, there are many things cyclists can do to stay safer on the road. The CDC recommends:
- Wear a bicycle helmet. Massachusetts requires riders under the age of 16 to have a helmet, but riders of any age can benefit from this protection.
- Be visible on the road, and make sure your bike has active lighting. Fluorescent colors make riders more visible from far away in the daytime.
- Know the rules of the road. Ride with the flow of traffic and act as if you were driving a car. Do not weave in and out of traffic, and pass on the left.
- Make eye contact with other drivers when possible to ensure they see you.
- Ride predictably. Do not thread through parked cars or veer into the crosswalk only to reappear on the road again.
- After an accident, stay calm. Get medical assistance. Make a report to the police, just as you would if you had been in a motor vehicle accident.
If you are in a serious accident, it might be a good idea to speak to a personal injury attorney concerning your injuries. You may need help presenting a strong case to the insurance company to make sure you receive full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and future care.