For children who had bikes, riding was one of the greatest pleasures. For preteens and teenagers, it also offered that first taste of freedom before gaining access to motorbikes or cars. As people grow older, that fascination with bikes tend to become replaced by cars, but over the past few years, bike riding saw a rise. This stemmed from people becoming more focused on staying active and healthy.
Unfortunately, one of the greatest risks is bike crashes with four-wheeled vehicles, resulting in injuries or deaths. According to CNN, bike injuries increased by 28% between 1998 and 2013. During this time, injury rates per 100,000 Americans rose to 123 from 96.
What the risks are
In some ways, the rise in biking accidents results from the rise in the number of bikers. Considered a low-impact sport with great cardiovascular benefits, many older people have taken up biking. Unfortunately, the over-45 crowd also accounts for the swell in bike injury numbers. To make matters worse, older people are a lot less resilient than youths, making injuries more likely to become serious.
How to protect against risks
One way cyclists can protect themselves is not to skimp on the available methods. For instance, it is important to wear the correct gear. Important examples here include reflective clothing for increased visibility and helmets to protect the head. Whenever possible, cyclists can also try to ride on trails or within communities that create bike lines to tend to their needs.
Business Insider points out that the medical costs associated with bike injuries also continue to rise. It also references the over-45 rider group as a potential reason for this. The cost of bike-related deaths climbed to $28 billion during 1997 and 2013. During that same period, non-fatal injuries cost $209 billion.