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Injuries to Bicyclists

From a Monograph by the Johns Hopkins Injury Prevention Center
Sponsored by the Snell Memorial Foundation

  • Each year in the United States:
    • more than 900 bicyclists are killed
    • 20,000 are admitted to hospitals
    • 580,000 receive emergency room treatment
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  • For the population as a whole, there are approximately:
    • 1.8 billion bicycle trips
    • 300 injuries per million trips
    • 1 death in every 2 million trips (0.5 per million)
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  • Helmets are needed because head injuries in bicyclists are noted in:
    • 65,000 emergency room cases and 7,700 hospital admissions annually
    • about 40% of bicyclists admitted to hospitals
    • an estimated 70% to 80% of fatally injured bicyclists
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  • Bicyclists hospitalized with head injuries are 20 times as likely to die as those without.
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  • Bicyclist injury rates per million trips are highest at age 5-15.
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  • Bicyclist death rates per million trips are highest above age 50.
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  • Bicyclist death rates per 100,000 population are highest at age 10-14.
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  • 56% of fatally injured bicyclists art: age 20 or older.
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  • Death rates for male bicyclists age 20-54 have substantially increased in recent years.
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  • Compared with females, males:
    • make 2.5 times as many bicycle trips
    • are 2.4 times as likely to be killed. per trip
    • have a death rate per 100,000 population that is 6 times as high
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  • The death rate per million trips is 8 times as high from 10 pm - 1 am as from 9 am -1 pm.
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  • Motor vehicles are involved in 90-92% of bicyclist deaths and 12% of injuries.
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  • One third of bicyclist fatalities occur on roads with speed limits of 55 mph or higher.
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  • Two-thirds of fatally injured bicyclists are tested for alcohol; 32% of those tested have been drinking.
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  • Bicyclist death rates per trip or per person mile of travel greatly exceed the rates for car occupants