By Tony Steuer, CLU, LA
Millions of Americans are riding bicycles as a way to stay healthy and to cut down on gasoline costs. However, some basic safety precautions are needed to avoid becoming one of the hundreds of people who die each year due to bicycle-related accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 55,646 bicycle riders have been killed in traffic crashes between 1932 and 2011. In 2011, there were 677-recorded fatalities involving cyclists, along with 48,000 injuries.
The 677-pedalcyclist deaths in 2011 accounted for two percent of all traffic fatalities during the year. This number is also nine percent higher than the 623- pedalcyclist killed in 2010.
In 2011, the average age of pedalcyclist killed in traffic crashes was 43, according to the NHTSA.
Those who engage in some outdoor sports may want to factor this into their life insurance planning decisions, because some activities can result in higher premiums.
The NHTSA added that the fatality numbers have actually improved somewhat in recent years, especially since 1975, which saw a peak of 1,003 cyclists killed.
To stay safe on one’s bicycle, the Insurance Information Institute recently highlighted NHTSA safety pointers such as always wearing a helmet and performing basic maintenance and checks on a bicycle’s parts.
Also, cyclists are advised to follow traffic laws and to be sure they are visible to other drivers. It is also important not to wear headphones while riding a bicycle, and riding with the flow of traffic is also highly advisable.