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How can bicycle safety be increased?

Riding a bicycle is both a way to enjoy time outside and a means of transportation. No matter the reason Iowa residents choose to ride a bike, the fact is that this activity comes with some risks. Depending on where a biker is riding, he or she might be traveling on the road, in a bike lane or even on a sidewalk. No matter what surface a cyclist is traveling on, he or she is likely to travel near automobiles and traffic. Because of this, the risk of an automobile-bike crash is present, which makes it important for both drivers and bicyclists to exercise safety.

How can bicycle safety be increased? Increasing safety for bicyclists is about understanding the causes of bicycle accidents, safety features and accident prevention. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 900 bicyclists were killed in 2013 and around 494,000 went to the emergency room due to a bicycle-related injury. Bicycle accidents are most likely to occur in urban areas and in non-intersection areas on the roadway. Additionally, people between the ages 15 and 29, and adults older than 45-years-old are the age groups with the highest rate of bicycle deaths.

The most effective way to prevent injuries and deaths when a bicycle accident occurs is by wearing a helmet. A properly fitted helmet can reduce the risk of a head or brain injury if a bike-car accident does occur. Other ways to prevent bicycle accidents with motor vehicles is by bikers wearing fluorescent or retro-reflective clothing to make the bicyclist more visible. Also, using lights and reflectors on the bike can help with visibility during the night.

While there are ways to improve and increase the safety for bicyclists in Iowa, car and bike collisions still do occur. When they do, it is important to understand the cause of the accident. If a negligent driver caused the collision, an injured biker can file a civil action. A personal injury suit could help a victim recover damages for his or her losses and injuries.

Source: CDC.gov, "Bicycle Safety," Accessed Sept. 14, 2015

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