When it comes to getting from one place to another, Americans still seem to prefer driving a car. Biking in the U.S. still seems to be a leisure activity and occasionally taking short trips. One of the reasons more people are not jumping on their bikes may be due to the lack of bike-friendly infrastructure in cities around the country. American cities are certainly lagging European cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam where bikes can easily outnumber cars.
This may be the reason riding a bike can still be dangerous in American cities. Another piece of bad news if you prefer two wheels over four, Albuquerque was recently cited in a report to be the most dangerous city for cyclists.
The data shows Albuquerque had 8.9 deaths per million inhabitants. On a national level, there were 818 people killed while riding a bike in 2015, the year the data for the report was taken. Most accidents that involve cyclists tend to happen in large cities where people commute to work or find bikes easier than a car to get around.
Most of the cyclists killed while riding a bike were men between the ages of 55-59 years old. There are currently around 80 million bikers sharing the road with cars in the United States. If you are new to biking or have been riding for years, it is still good to review good biking rules to keep you safe:
- Understand traffic laws; cyclists follow the same laws as motorists
- Ride single file if you are with others
- Watch out for car doors swinging open
- Do not grab on to a moving car
- Use extra precautions at intersections and use hand signals for turning
- During the day wear bright-colored clothing
- Wear reflective clothing at night and have reflectors on your bike
- A rear-view mirror, horn, and bell are recommended
- Know your bike's capabilities and stay within its means
The most important bike safety rule is not on the list because it needs more than a bullet point: Wear a helmet. You will reduce the risk of a head injury by wearing a helmet up to 60 percent and 58 percent for brain injury. As long as cars and cyclists share the road accidents are bound to happen. Being prepared can be the best protection from a catastrophic injury.