Study Indicates Cycling Safer Than Driving for Young Males

Young males between the ages 17 and 20 are less likely to be injured when they are bicycling than when they are driving a car, at least when the males in question are British. According to the results of a new study that was released recently, driving is more dangerous for young males in the United Kingdom than bicycling.

That bit of news has been greeted with enthusiasm by bicycling safety groups in the United Kingdom who have been trying to promote bicycling. In Britain, health groups and bicycling groups have been trying to get more people to bike because active travel like bicycling or walking is expected to save that country as much as $17 billion in healthcare costs. California bicycle lawyers believe that promoting bicycling could lead to similar healthcare cost savings in the United States too.

Promotion of bicycling in Britain has been an uphill climb, but bicycling did receive a great boost after the London Olympics, when British cyclists won a stash of medals.

The study analyzed hospital admissions between 2007 and 2009, and found that the risks while traveling for males between the ages of 17 and 21 were highest when they were driving a car.

Different risks seemed to exist for males in other categories. For instance, senior citizens above the age of 70 were found to be at a much higher risk of fatality when they were cycling. Overall, the researchers found that fatality risks were more or less similar for males between 21 and 49 for bicycling, walking as well as driving a car. However, young men between the ages of 17 and 20 seemed to be at the lowest risk of being involved in an accident when they were bicycling.

According to the researchers, their study proves that the risks of bicycling in Britain are blown out of proportion, and have possibly discouraged a lot of people from bicycling.

California Cities Large Populations of Bicyclists Face Accident Risks

Several California cities including Davis, Palo Alto and Berkeley, have more than 5% of their workforce commuting to work by bicycle. In these cities, higher numbers of bicyclists have meant lower traffic congestion problems. But Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers fear that the higher bicyclist population also means an increasing risk of collisions with motor vehicles.

According to Census Bureau data, 5 California cities – Davis, Palo Alto, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Chico, and Mountain View – have more than 5% of their workforce commuting to work by bicycle. In fact, the city with the highest share of bicyclist commuters is Davis, where out of a total workforce of 29,663, 4,923 choose to bike to work. That makes it a staggering 16.6% of the population that choose to bicycle to work.

Similarly, in Palo Alto, bicyclists constitute close to 11% of the total commuting population, while in Berkeley, bicycling commuters make up 8.85% of the commuting population.

According to the Census survey, those are rough estimates because it is difficult to point out exactly how many numbers of workers commute to work every day by bicycle. For instance, the data does not include those people who ride to public transportation stations. It also does not include people who simply ride by bicycle to work once or twice a week. These people are not considered bicycle commuters.

Several cities in California have promoted bicycling, and California has several cities that do feature as some of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country. However, the more the number of bicyclists, the greater the risk of accidents with motorists who are ignorant about the rights of bicyclists. Promotion of bicycling therefore should be combined with education efforts targeting motorists.