The Star-Tribune reports that bicyclist injuries are up this year.
Rightly, they do observe that increased popularity of the sport and transportation method create more opportunity for cyclist injury. More riders? More opportunity. That math is simple.
However, the article also closes on a scare tactic, referring to cycling as ‘very dangerous.’ There have probably been more injuries as a result of car accidents (not involving cyclists) than there have been cycling accident injuries this year. On a percentage basis, it may yet be a lower risk pool, but to merely merit the term ‘very dangerous,’ it’s more than dangerous enough.
The article also doesn’t mention that another cause for this rise in cyclist injury may in fact be inexperience. A rise in use generally means those who haven’t ridden much in years, or who are fairly new to the practice, are now riding. League of American Bicyclists statistics suggest that accident rates go up as experience decreases. Similarly, accident rates go down when cyclists behave as vehicles, and ‘drive’ their bikes in traffic – so no sidewalk riding, no blowing of stop signs, etc.
Interestingly, today is also the day I learned about the new educational package from LAB. The course formerly known as Road I is being re-named: Smart Cycling – Traffic Skills 101. I’m pleased about this, as the course really is about becoming an effective navigator of traffic and a skilled bicycle driver. I think the course will be an easier ‘sell’ now when looking for enrollment.