New report on bicycle accidents reveals surprising statistics

If you ever needed a compelling argument for why it's crucial to wear a helmet, there is a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association that may convince you. The report identifies some key differences in cycling accidents and injuries, especially those where motor vehicles are involved. The data may surprise you.

The GHSA report, which analyzes data from 1975-2015, notes one major finding: while bicyclist fatalities on U.S. roadways hit an all-time low in 2010, they are now on the rise again, accounting for at least 2% of all roadway fatalities.

Most often, these accidents occur because motorists fail to notice a bicyclist sharing the road with them.

Furthermore, most of these fatalities are adults, not children. The average age of a bicyclist killed in a collision with a motor vehicle is 45. (In 1988, the average age was 24.) And men, not women, are more likely to be killed. The vast majority (70%) of these accidents happen in urban settings and are fairly evenly divided between daylight and nighttime hours.

Other major findings from the report include the following.

  • Alcohol is a major factor in bicycle-motorist collisions and fatalities.
  • More than half of those killed on bicycles were not wearing helmets.
  • Since 2011, an average 55 additional bicyclists have died annually on U.S. roads.

The report attempts to answer the question as to why the percentage of bicyclists killed on roadways hasn't decreased. The answer? Perhaps it's simply the lack of protection you have when you're on a bike. If you're in a car, you're just less exposed to the elements.

The same goes for weather: milder winters mean more cyclists on the road. Bicycle commuting is also on the rise, which may lead to more collisions, injuries, and fatalities.

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