National Public Radio reported last week on the dramatic increase in injuries suffered by cyclists. The trend reflects the increase in the number people riding, but in particular the numbers show the increase in bike accidents for the older crowd.
Hospital admissions because of bike injuries more than doubled between 1998 and 2013, doctors reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The greatest increase was seen with bikers ages 45 and over.
Another study, published last month in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found a similar trend with bicycle deaths: While the death rate among child cyclists has plummeted in the past four decades, the mortality rate among cyclists ages 35 to 54 has tripled.
The most recent National Household Travel Survey showed that the vast majority of the increase in bicycling between 1995 and 2009 came from Americans older than 25, with the biggest increases coming in the oldest groups. That has meant more men in their 50s and 60s on road bikes, resulting in more severe injuries at higher numbers.
And the hard reality for those of us in that age range is that when a 65-year-old falls off their bike exactly the same way a 25-year-old does, the 65-year-old will sustain more injuries even if they’re in great shape.
When cycling, some safety precautions are absolutely essential – wear a helmet and reflective gear, have lights for night riding and ride defensively. And know the rules of the road.