The immense personal and financial cost of bike accidents
Last week, we wrote a post about bicycling being named the official exercise of the state of Illinois. Obviously this makes it a critical priority to the state, and lawmakers should have a focus on promoting safety regulations that look after bicyclists.
This is a particularly important issue now, given that despite a dramatic decrease in the amount of traffic fatalities in the U.S. from 2006 to 2015 (18 percent decline) there was actually an increase in the number of biking accidents during the same time (6 percent increase). In 2006, 772 bicyclists died and another 44,000 suffered injuries. In 2015, those numbers increased to 818 and 45,000, respectively.
According to the National Safety Council, the total financial impact of bicyclist injuries and deaths in the U.S. costs $4 billion annually. This shows not just the financial carnage that can be caused by bicycle accidents, but the extreme personal cost too. These wrecks are often very serious, leaving the bicyclists with massive mountains of medical debt. They often have to take a lot of time off as well to fully recover from the accident.
With a new focus on bicycling in the state and the numbers reflecting a downward trend for bike safety, now is the time for local lawmakers and officials to step up their game and protect some of the most vulnerable people out on the road. Hopefully we will see a decline in bicycle fatalities soon.
Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, “Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Statistics,” Accessed Jan. 10, 2018