Healthy people bicycle.

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

It’s low impact and can protect you from a wide range of adverse health issues, from cardiac arrest to diabetes.

But bicycling can also get you killed.

Studies are finding that more bicyclists are getting injured pedaling to their local supermarkets or daily jobs.

Why? And what should you do if you’re in an accident? Today, we’ll find out.

The Studies

A recent 2017 study from UC San Francisco has found that the medical costs from non-fatal bicycle crashes have been rising by about $790 million per year as more injuries and fatalities swarm into hospitals. It’s one of the reasons Dr. Stephen Zink, an assistant professor of radiology, no longer bikes to and from work.

Deaths in pedal-cyclists increased by over 12% from 2014 to 2015. The majority of fatalities occurred in cities, and fatalities among those over 20 continue to climb.

While bicycle transportation comprises only 1% of all trips within the US, pedal-cyclists have a higher risk of crash-related injury or death than motorists.

Why the Increase?

There are several reasons for the purported increases.

More Bikers

More people are biking it than ever before. Approximately 100 million Americans bike each year and 14 million bike at least twice a week.

The increase in bikers, of course, means an increase in possible injuries.

Needed Bike Lanes

Over 70% of fatal bike crashes occur on roadways.

With the extra pedal-cyclists out there, cities may need to consider integrating bike paths or lanes.

New York City’s Transportation Department did just that, and the results were astounding. By investing in a bike lane, the city saw a 17% decrease in serious injuries.

Lack of Helmets

With New York City’s Citi Bike initiative, officials gave out over 190,000 free helmets.

It’s a good idea. Helmets may reduce the risk of head injury by up to 70%. Even so, over half of American bicyclists do not wear helmets.

While officials have debated enacting laws making the gear mandatory, many argue that it is off-putting and discourages bike riding.

Drivers

Adding to the dilemma, drivers do not pay as much attention to the road as they should. Over half of Americans fill their driving time with conversing, listening to the radio or partaking in other distractions.

What to Do if You’re in a Bike Accident

With these accidents on the rise, it’s important to know what to do if you become a victim.

  1. Call 911 and seek medical help.
  2. Exchange information with the driver.
  3. If you are not injured, take photos of the accident and ask for information from any witnesses and the police officer in charge.
  4. Speak to a bike accident lawyer.

Stay Safe

With the rise in bicycle injuries across the nation, it’s important that civilians take preventative measures to stay safe. Wear helmets, ride in bicycle lanes whenever possible and be sure to call a knowledgeable attorney if you are in an accident.

Stay safe and pedal onwards.