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Risk factors for bicycle-related injuries

The Maryland State Highway Administration estimates that about 750 cyclists suffer injuries each year on Maryland roads. The SHA has a bicycle safety education program called "A Cyclist Might Be Someone You Know," which is a campaign asking motorists and cyclists to pay attention to the road and remember that cyclists have a family and friends who want the rider to return home safely. As a cyclist, it is important to follow the rules of the road and to have the proper equipment.

Cyclists should always wear a helmet when riding, as this is one of the biggest risk factors for bicycle-related injuries. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports these other risk factors:

  • Male cyclists suffer injuries more frequently than female cyclists
  • Cyclists who are 9 to 14 years old have higher rates of injuries than cyclists in other age groups
  • Cycling in the late afternoon and early evening tends to be more dangerous
  • An intoxicated cyclist is more likely to be injured
  • Cyclists who do not wear a helmet is more likely to suffer serious injury

A cyclist involved in a motor vehicle crash is almost certain to be injured. Many bicycle-related injuries occur to the extremities, the arms and legs, but strains, fractures and contusions are also common. Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by 75 percent or more. The AAFP recommends other protective gear in addition to helmets, such as gloves, padded shorts, good shoes, and reflective or bright clothing. You should also make sure the bicycle and the helmet fit correctly to your body.

Cyclists can take many precautions to stay safe, but bicycle accidents can still occur. If you are seriously injured in an accident with a motor vehicle, you may want to speak to a personal injury lawyer who can assess your situation and help you find the best possible outcome to cover your medical bills, long-term care needs and lost income.

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