Biking season is here. As a biking enthusiast, I enjoy seeing people out recreating on their bikes or using them as their primary mode of transportation. As the Injury Prevention Coordinator for the UVM Medical Center, what I don’t enjoy seeing is people on their bikes without a helmet.
Nationally, more than 500,000 people visit to the emergency room every year with bike-related injuries. One injury is too many when it comes to preventable injuries. According to the CDC, the major risk factors are:
- Adolescents (15-24 years) and adults aged 45 years and older have the highest bicycle death rates.
- Children (5-14 years), adolescents, and young adults (15-24 years) have the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries, accounting for almost 60 percent of all bicycle-related injuries seen in U.S. emergency departments.
- Males are much more likely to be killed or injured on bicycles than are females.
- Most bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas and at non-intersection locations.
This summer, ride smart and help prevent bike-related injuries by following these simple steps:
- Wear a properly fitted helmet.
- Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in the event of a crash.
- Be a good role model for your friends and family. Wear a helmet when participating in any activity where head injury is possible.
- Advocate for others to wear a helmet.
- Be visible.
- Fluorescent clothing can make bicyclists visible from further away than regular clothing during the daytime.
- Retro-reflective clothing can make bicyclists more visible at night.
- Active lighting can include front white lights, rear red lights, or other lighting on the bicycle or bicyclist. This lighting may improve the visibility of bicyclists.
- Know the rules of the road.
- Visit our partner Local Motion’s website to learn more.
I will see you out on the road…and the bike path…and the trails this summer!
Christina Keating is the Injury Prevention Coordinator/Safe Kids Vermont Coordinator at the University of Vermont Medical Center.