Making Cycling SaferMarch 28, 2016
Approximately 7,500 Canadian cyclists suffer major injuries due to accidents each year. When we think of how to improve cycling safety, one of the first things that comes to mind is wearing a helmet.
Although helmets can be helpful in preventing head injuries, the jury is still out on whether they have an impact on collision deaths. Studies have found that while people who wear helmets significantly reduce their risk for brain, head, and facial injuries, helmets do not necessarily reduce the risk of fatalities. Other studies show that even as helmet use has become more popular or even mandatory, the number of fatalities has remained consistent.
Although some provinces have required mandatory helmet use, surprisingly this does not have a large impact on cyclist injuries. Even in places that mandate the use of helmets, hospitalizations for bicycle injuries have remained unchanged.
What can the government do to reduce cycling injuries and fatalities? The biggest factors that influence cycling safety are infrastructure and the number of cyclists. In places where high numbers of residents use bicycles for transportation, injury and fatality rates are lower. Bike lanes and other infrastructure also reduce injury and fatality rates.
In countries with the highest numbers of cyclists like the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, few cyclists use helmets but injury and fatality rates are significantly lower than those in the United States and Canada. It’s likely that in places where bike transportation is valued more than car transportation, governments contribute significantly more funding to bike infrastructure. For example, Germany is currently building a bike Autobahn and Norway is planning to build a “bicycle superhighway” throughout its cities and suburbs.
If you’d like to learn more about how these factors impact cycling safety, click here to read the full article.
It’s also crucial to remember that although many of these changes have potential for Canadian cyclists, safety largely remains a matter of being cautious and closely observing traffic and traffic laws. Until major changes occur within Canadian provinces, serious accidents are still likely to happen.
If you have been injured in a cycling accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with us today to speak with a personal injury lawyer and learn more about your legal rights.
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