Whether you find out that there is already one or more Bike Safety programs and/or specific programs and events in May for Bike Safety Month, Ride to work day, etc., or if you have decided to try and put one together, you want to be armed to the teeth with reasons why this is a great idea.
So you need stats. You want to outdo the Audubon Society in your effort to sing a sad song about what has gone wrong with kids, bikes, and safety. Here is some of what you can use.
U.S. Department of Transportation statistics show that on average more than 800 bicyclists die and 70,000 are injured in motor vehicle-related crashes. The good news is that the trend is down with only 618 deaths and 52,000 injuries in 2010. There does not seem to be good data regarding how many of these accidents involve a motor vehicle.
More than one-third of all bicycle fatalities involve riders 5 to 20 years old, and 41 percent of nonfatal injuries occur to children under the age of 15.
Why are deaths and injuries trending down. No one seems to truly know. However we do know that thousands of miles of bike paths and bike lanes have been added to the nation’s roads and highways. Today it is very unlikely that young riders will be out without a helmet. But high on the list has to be the continuing effort by civic minded organizations and agencies who provide education and promotion of bicycle safety.
The trend could continue down, but only if we keep doing the things that seem to be working. It is common in many places to see a surge in interest after a death or major injury in the community. The barn door being locked after the horse gets loose. While it sure makes it easier to get the ball rolling in such circumstances, it is obviously not born out of wisdom. The time to act is now, before the next child is harmed.
The massive potential side benefit of continuing to see the bicycle/auto accidents decline will be a greater willingness on the part of moms to let their kids have the freedom that they probably had as kids to ride to school or more than a few blocks to a friends house. The potential advantages include:
- Kids who are more at home with adventure
- Fewer overweight or obese kids
- A new outlet for kids other than video games and TV
- Fewer car trips to take Jr. to school or lessons or baseball practice
- Creating in children a lifelong appreciation for cycling
- More families on bikes as a pastime
- Fitness through cycling as a family passion
Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveal that most bicycle deaths occur between June through September, and between the hours of 6-9 p.m.
- The risk of sustaining an injury in non-daylight conditions is four times greater than during daytime.
- Nearly half of bicycle-motor vehicle crashes occurred at night or during low-light conditions when motorists had trouble seeing cyclists.