Bicycle accidents take a heavy toll on the US economy. Now, a new study finds that these crashes cost the American economy more than $24 billion a year in health care and other costs. What’s worse, the study also finds that those costs have been steadily increasing over the years.
Researchers focused on fatal and non-fatal bicycle accidents across the country between 1999 and 2013. They found that there were nearly 10,000 bicycle accident fatalities during this period of time. Researchers also found that there were a total of 3.8 million non-fatal bicycle accident injuries during this period of time, and a 120% increase in the number of hospital admissions related to bicycle accidents.
There is a specific reason why costs associated with bicycle accidents, especially healthcare costs, have been increasing the way they have. Accidents involving older bicyclists are one of those factors. Accident-related costs involving cyclists over the age of 45 contribute heavily to those expenses, because these crashes are strongly linked to longer hospital stays, and higher recovery times after accidents.
There has also been a significant increase in the number of bicycle miles traveled – those rates doubling between 2001 and 2009. There’s also been an increase in the number of street accidents. These accounted for more than two-thirds of all accident-related expenses in 2013. There were far fewer street accidents in 1997 by comparison.
According to researchers, costs associated with bicycle accidents can be reduced. Commonsense measures such as the installation of more bike lanes in cities could significantly help reduce the risk of street accidents. The number of people who ride both for work and recreation has increased significantly in the United States. Unfortunately, bicycle-friendly infrastructure has not kept pace. As a result, most cities in the US, including those that have very heavy bicycling populations, have found themselves unprepared to cope with these increasing numbers of bicyclists. Add to that the changing demographics of bicyclists which now include more first-timers and older cyclists, and the reasons for this increase in costs associated with bicycle accidents become clearer.
Bicycle accidents typically result in severe injuries to the bicyclist. A bicyclist may not have strong protection against injuries apart from a bicycle helmet. Head injuries, fractures, spinal cord injuries, amputations – these are some of the very common injuries that bicyclists are at risk of when they’re involved in an accident.
The Atlanta bicycle accident lawyers at KWFDM represent persons injured in bicycle accidents across Georgia and the Southeastern U.S.