Ride Boldly!

Bikes, bicycling, and road safety.

Bicycle Accidents Up

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.

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Author: julie

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005. She is a past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. She has 2 children and 4 bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations.


  1. In addition to inexperience, I think a lot of people are taking to biking in urban areas when their main cycling experience might be on trails or in suburban areas. Commuter biking and biking around your neighborhood are two very different experiences, and being inexperienced in traffic can be dangerous.

    I’m not sure how people would react to this, but maybe there should be some sort of a permit program to ride your bike on city streets?

  2. I’m just coming off six weeks of recovery, and about to start physical therapy after being hit by a pick-up going to work. Luckily, I made it through the accident, and hope to be riding again soon. I agree that this article points to a trend that’s all across the U.S. right now regarding bike accidents.

    More people are riding, which should be encouraged. What should be pointed out is the increasing need for the infrastructure to be put in place to support biking-walking as ways to get around. The following documentary does a great job showing how to decrease congestion, support local businesses, and encourage bike transportation can all be harmonious goals.


    So, keep riding. Call your representatives at all levels of government. And give a wave to the cyclists you pass.

  3. A FRIENDLY wave, not a middle-finger wave, please!

    And good luck with the recovery, Mike.