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New Study Shows Rising Medical Costs from Bicycle Injuries

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The study, which was published in June 2017 in the journal Injury Prevention, indicated that crashes and fatalities have been steadily increasing over the past ten years. Researchers used non-fatal incidence data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1997 ­– 2013, cost estimates from the Consumer Productive Safety Commission’s Injury Cost Model, and fatal incidence data from the National Vital Statistics System from 1999 ­­– 2013 to reach their conclusions.

Their analysis showed that a total of about 3.8 million non-fatal bicycle injuries and nearly 9,900 deaths occurred during the study period. From 1999 to 2013, total estimated costs were $209 billion due to non-fatal bicycle injuries, and 28 billion due to fatal injuries. When comparing the costs over the span of the study period, they found that they increased by 137 percent for non-fatal injuries and 23 percent for fatal injuries. Non-fatal costs associated with injuries to riders 45 and older increased by 1.6 percent annually.

The researchers concluded that the overall costs associated with bicycle injuries are increasing, especially with riders 45 and older. In 2013, nearly 54 percent of the total costs of accidents were due to riders 45 and older, up from 26 percent in 1997.

Researchers suggested that the rise could be due to more commuting by bicycles and changes in motor vehicle traffic. “Many of these injuries are preventable with safer roads,” said senior author Benjamin N. Breyer. “As our cities become more dense and we look for ways to promote active commuting to benefit health and environment, we need to invest long term into our bicycling infrastructure.”

NHTSA Indicates Bicycling Fatalities on the Rise

According to the NHTSA, most bicycling accidents occur in urban areas and most fatalities occur at non-intersections. The following time periods had the highest percentage of fatalities:

  • 6:00 p.m. to 8:59 p.m.
  • 3:00 p.m. to 5:59 p.m.
  • 9:00 p.m. to 11:50 p.m.

They noted that the average age of cyclists killed in crashes was over 45 and that this age has steadily increased over the past ten years as older bikers take to the streets. Men, too, seem to be more at risk, as the majority of cyclists killed (85 percent) or injured (80 percent) were men. Most of the crashes involved only one vehicle, and the bicyclist was most often hit by the front of the vehicle.

The NHTSA also showed the number of fatalities by state and indicated the largest number occurred in Florida and California. They reminded all bicyclists to wear properly fitted helmets, as they are “the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.”  

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, please call our offices.   For over 40 years, the staff at LDM&M have worked with people across Wisconsin to secure the justice and compensation they deserve.