Every year in the United States, bicycle-related deaths number about 900 and emergency rooms treat almost 500,000 people for bicycle-related injuries, most to the head. Bike mishaps in the U.S. send more children to the ER than any other sport. Proper use of a bike helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 88%. In Florida, children under the age of 16 riding a bike or as a passenger on a bike are required by law to wear a helmet. Officer Caitlyn Anglin with the Lynn Haven Police Department told WJHG- Channel 7 that most of their accidents with children on bikes - the child is wearing their helmet which saved their live in certain cases. "It's illegal to have anyone on the bicycle anywhere but the seat," Anglin said. "If it's riding either in front of them of behind their head you can actually get a fine as the parent and the child for riding unsafely," she said. Riders need reflectors and lights in the front and back of their bikes that extend for at least 600 feet. Anglin said riders also need to be aware of the road rules. She said bikers need to ride with the flow of traffic. Riders must obey all traffic signs and lights. They can ride on the sidewalk so long as they are able to give audible warnings to other bikers and pedestrians. "They need to be following the flow of traffic and ride as far to the right hand side as they can," she said.
WEAR Channel 3 reports that a man was left in critical but stable condition after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle. According to the Fort Walton Beach Police Department, earlier this month a 52-year-old male was riding his bicycle north along Wright Parkway and trying to cross the Mary Esther cutoff at the intersection, while outside of an approved crosswalk. The male was then struck by a 2001 Pontiac traveling north. The bicyclist was dressed in dark clothing and his bicycle did not have any light reflectors. Witnesses on scene said they did not see the bicyclist in the roadway after the crash. The man was alert and talking when taken from the scene to the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. At this time it is unknown if alcohol played a factor in this incident.
An interesting study recently came out in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association. The study found more U.S. adults are getting hurt on bikes, especially middle-aged and older men. Urologist Benjamin Breyer, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco and his colleagues became curious about cycling injuries after seeing many men coming in for surgery for such injuries as urethral damage after bike accidents. They looked at data collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission from about 100 emergency rooms nationwide. Comparing 1998 and 1999 to 2012 and 2013, the last year of data available, they found:
During the summer, we all see more people biking. It is well known that bicycling is one of the best ways to stay in shape, see the sights, save money on gas and reduce pollution. Even though there are so many benefits, there are also a lot of risks and people must take extra precautions when they ride. They often share the road with vehicles, which creates a host of hazards, but injuries can happen even on a designated path. The National Safety Council reports that bicycle riding caused more injuries over all age groups than football in 2013. According to Injury Facts 2015, 531,340 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2013 after being injured riding a bicycle. The only sport resulting in more injuries overall was basketball, at 533,509. Football was third, at 420,581. This organization also reports that about 1,000 deaths and 120,000 injuries resulted from cyclists colliding with motor vehicles in 2013. With about 80 million bike riders sharing the road with millions of motorized vehicles, the importance of safety precautions in traffic cannot be emphasized enough.
The NWFL Daily News reports that there were two bicyclists who were struck in two separate accidents this past Saturday in Fort Walton Beach. What makes it more tragic...the bicyclists were crossing in a CROSSWALK. The accidents were only a few hours and less than a mile apart. Around noon, at Hollywood Boulevard and Robinwood Drive, 61-year-old male was riding his bicycle in the marked pedestrian crosswalk when he was struck by a 2001 white Lincoln. He was flown via life flight to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola where his condition is listed as stable. An eighty one year old female of Fort Walton Beach, was driving the Lincoln. She was cited for failure to yield. Later Saturday evening around 5:30 p.m., at the entrance of Uptown Station, another bicyclist was struck. A 60 year old male of Fort Walton Beach was crossing on his bicycle when he was hit. In a silver, 2008 Infiniti, a 19-year-old entered the marked crosswalk, striking the bicyclist. The young male was cited for unlawful window tint, which was a contributing factor to the crash according to the Fort Walton Beach Police Department press release. This injured bicyclist was taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center for treatment but was later released.Battalion Chief Gene Large with the Fort Walton Beach Fire Department said while accidents involving cyclists are far too common, it is uncommon to have two crashes occur in crosswalks.