Bicycle Accidents Leading to Substantial Medical Costs


The use of bicycles has become extremely common, especially in a city like San Francisco. However, the popularity leads to more accidents. A study by the University of California-San Francisco found that the costs from nonfatal bicycle accidents has risen to $789 million per year. From 1997 to 2013, the amount of medical costs from bicycle injuries to United States adults reached $237 billion, for both fatal and nonfatal crashes. 75% of the total costs involved men. Researchers found that older men are more likely to experience a bicycle injury and the greatest majority of the total costs comes from street crashes with motor vehicles. This is because when a bicycle collides with a motor vehicle the damage is typically much more severe, and will lead to the costs of emergency department visits, hospital admissions, etc.

There are many benefits from cycling, including improved cardiovascular function. This makes it very popular with the older population, specifically 45 and older. The researchers found that within the last 15 years, there has been a 120% increase for the incidence of hospital admissions from bike accidents. While the benefits of cycling do outweigh the risks, professors at UCSF believe that safer roads will lead to less injuries. They suggest using the European environment as a model, where people can cycle safely with less accidents. If bicycle use continues to thrive, there needs to be a big change with road safety in order to lessen the annual medical costs.

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