Bicycle Accident Costs Soaring
Many organizations promote bike riding as an excellent form of transportation. While it offers health benefits, it can also lead to costly accidents.
An increase in bike riding for commuting purposes has led to a rise in bicycle accidents. In 2013, medical bills caused by bike accidents exceeded $24 billion. Most of those affected by the accidents are people over age 45, with men accounting for 77 percent of the injuries.
Since 1997, medical costs associated with bike accidents have risen steadily. On top of that, the average cost per accident has also spiked.
Between 1997 and 2013, there were 3.8 million non-fatal bike injuries and nearly 10,000 deaths. During this time, the non-fatal injuries cost $209 billion, while the bicycle accident deaths accounted for another $28 billion.
These injuries are increasing at a rate of 6,500 per year and deaths are increasing by 19 cases per year. The total medical costs are increasing by a whopping $789 million per year. That’s because, in the last 15 years, hospital stays due to bike crashes have increased by 120 percent. That $789 million tab also includes emergency transport, rehabilitation, and therapy, nursing home costs, lost wages, loss of quality of life and other damages.
Reason for Increase in Costs
In the past, bikes were reserved mainly for off-road use, so the accidents did not involve road infrastructure. In 1997, only 46 percent of bike-related injuries occurred on a roadway. That number rose to 67 percent in 2014.
An accident involving a bike and car is rarely minor. Factors such as speed result in much more serious injuries. Plus, there is the impact to consider, with many cyclists running into objects on the streets and sidewalks, such as phone poles, parking meters, and fire hydrants.
How Common are Bicycle Accidents?
While it’s important to be aware of these statistics, bike riding is still the preferred method of transportation for many. Researchers believe that the benefits of riding a bike still outweigh the risks of being involved in an accident. Cities may want to look into improving biking infrastructure, especially in areas where bicyclists are common. Bike riders can also do their part by ensuring they’re alert at all times while riding and wearing a helmet to prevent head injuries.