May is National Bike Month. Bicyclists all across the U.S. kicked off the month by celebrating Bike To Work Week May 11 through May 15. Others, including many Americans living in San Diego, California condense the event to just one day: Friday, May 29. In any case, National Bike Month, Bike To Work Week, and Bike To Work Day have many discussing the merits of bicycling and encouraging others to do it more often. It is an entirely pollution-free means of travel, and — particularly in cities with heavy traffic — riding a bicycle to work can actually be considerably faster. So why do the vast majority of Americans still hesitate to make biking to and from work (and other nearby places) a habit?
Many Fear Bicycling Is Unsafe
And, unfortunately, this fear is not entirely unfounded. Studies show that, although bicycling accounts for just 1% of all trips in the U.S., bicycles are far more likely to be involved in an accident that results in death or serious injury. Of all bicycle accident injuries, the most serious ones — such as bicycle head injuries — are among the most common. In fact, the number of bicycle-related head injuries surpasses the number of head injuries from various sports injuries (soccer, lacrosse, football, ice hockey, etc.) as well as head injures related to skateboarding, horseback riding, and snowboarding.
Simple Ways To Prevent Injury
While these injuries are disturbingly common and the subject of many court cases (according to personal injury attorneys and bicycle accident lawyers), they are also relatively easy to prevent. For one, many bicycling injuries occur because the bicyclist failed to wear a helmet. Case in point: 95% of bicyclists killed in 2006 were not wearing helmets at the time of their death. By simply wearing a helmet, bicyclists can considerably decrease their risk of sustaining a serious injury. Similarly, wearing reflective clothing and getting a mirror for your bicycle can also prevent crashes and injury.
Bicyclists are entirely energy efficient — and they can get us where we need to go faster, too. Now all that we need to do is stay safe while riding them. Personal injury attorneys and bike accident lawyers advise wearing a helmet at all times, getting a mirror, and wearing brightly colored and/or reflective clothing.