Most Pedestrian and Bike Injuries Don't Involve Cars
Biking and walking can be dangerous - even when cars aren't present. In fact, a recent study showed that most pedestrian and cyclist injuries don't involve motor vehicles at all. Not that motor vehicles aren't a danger - collisions with motor vehicles produced the most serious injuries in this study - but a surprising number of cyclists and walkers hurt themselves without any cars being present.
The study, by Jane C. Stutts and William W. Hunter of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, found that hospital records tell a different story from police crash reports. Since police reports only address
incidents that occur on public roadways, they tend not to record incidents that did not involve a motor vehicle. Hospital emergency room data indicate that 70 percent of the cyclist injuries and 64 percent of the pedestrian injuries did not involve a motor vehicle. Many of the incidents took place away from the road: 31 percent of the cyclists and 53 percent of the pedestrians hurt themselves on sidewalks, parking lots, trails, driveways, and other non-road locations.
Children in particular were more likely to incur bicycle injuries while away from the road, while adult pedestrians over 45 were more likely to be injured while walking off -road, most often by failing.
The authors conclude that many such incidents could be prevented by keeping sidewalks in better shape, by making parking lots safer for
pedestrians, and by clearing public areas from snow and ice to prevent slipping. Children in particular would benefit from safe places to bike and skate, the authors found.
This document was last updated on February 25, 2001.
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