A study, recently published in Injury Prevention by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), highlights how the rates of bicyclists out on the road has increased in recent years. As the number of bikers has gone up, the annual expenditures of Americans on crash-related injuries has also increased.
In fact, researchers suggest that the annual amount spent on nonfatal bicycle injuries climbs by nearly $800 million per year. During the period between 1997 and 2013, the aggregate of all bicycle injuries and fatalities resulted in a combined medical cost of nearly $240 billion for Americans.
It’s estimated that close to 9,900 bicyclists died and as many as 3.8 were injured during that 15-year period. The $240 billion spent on bicycle crashes exceeds what was spent by Americans on treating occupational diseases across the same time frame.
As for the crash trends, the researchers point out that the majority of the bicyclists injured appear to be men, especially older ones. Additionally, whereas in the past, bicycle accidents had a higher propensity to occur in nonstreet settings, now, they’re the street-based ones that are on the rise.
The researchers point out that a large number of the injuries they see reported involve a car striking a bicycle and generally at a high rate of speed. The also note that across Europe, the design of more bicyclist-friendly roadways has reduced crash rates. They note that perhaps some lessons can be learned in the U.S. from some of those cases.
Although it’s not clear from the statistics, injuries suffered by bicyclists tend to be more debilitating than those a motorist may experience. Much of this has to do with the fact that little investment has been made over the years to make bicycles safer for riders. If you’ve been seriously hurt in a bike crash, then a Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney may advise you of your right to either sue its manufacturer or the person who struck you.
Source: University of California San Francisco, “Soaring medical costs from bicycle accidents,” Elizabeth Fernandez, accessed Dec. 21, 2017