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Frequency of Minnesota bicyclist accidents a concern

In Minnesota and across the nation, the number of people who are taking to the roads with a bicycle, instead of a car or public transport, is increasing. This not only improves the health of the populace, but it is also good for the pocketbook, as well as the environment. However, there are dangers for those who ride bicycles that are not frequently considered when they choose to alter their lifestyle by becoming a regular bicyclist. The risks of a bike crash for a multitude of reasons are significant and they can lead to massive expenses from the need for long-term medical care if not an outright fatality.

The number of people who use a bicycle is limited -- 1 percent out of every instance when people venture outside. But, because of their vulnerability, the number of injuries and deaths are substantially higher than those of people who are in motor vehicles. In 2010, approximately 515,000 people were taken to the hospital due to a bike crash. Nearly 800 people died. These injuries can cost as much as $5 billion over the lifetime of those who were hurt or killed.

Those at the highest risk for death in a bike crash are people between the age of 15 and 24 and those over the age of 45. Sixty percent of injuries are suffered by children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 24. Males are more frequently injured and these incidents commonly happen in urban locales. There are tactics that people can use to increase their safety such as making certain to wear a bicycle helmet, wearing reflective clothing and having proper safety equipment on the bikes.

All the bike awareness, caution and safety procedures in the world will not save people from reckless drivers, drivers operating their vehicles under the influence, various road incidents and other dangers that can arise. Given the extensive problems a person and his or her family will be confronted with an injured or dead loved one, it is important to know what to do if there are injuries or fatalities on a bicycle. Discussing the matter with a qualified legal professional is the logical first step.

Source: CDC.gov, "Bicycle related injuries," accessed on Nov. 2, 2014

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