On May 17, 2006 at 7pm, Maryland cycling groups from Hagerstown, Frederick, and Baltimore will join cyclists across the country in a Ride of Silence to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured on public roads. The Ride of Silence was started in 2003 when an endurance rider was killed after being hit by the mirror of a bus.
In 2003, 622 people died in car-related accidents while riding bicycles. Although the number is dropping, bicycle accidents are 2% of all traffic fatalities and 2% of all traffic injuries. Bicycle rides account for less than 1% of trips.
Hospital records indicate that only 10% of bicycle accidents are ever reported. Millions of people ride their bikes on the road every year.
Who is getting killed in bicycle crashes?
A detailed breakdown of the age, gender, and location of bicycle crash victims is available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Some of the more noteworthy trends or numbers are:
1. In 1990, the average age of bicyclists killed in traffic crashes was 28 years. By 2003, this had risen dramatically to nearly 36 years of age. Looking even further back, in 1975, 32 percent of bicycle deaths involved people aged 16 or older. In 2003, that figure was nearly 77 percent. So, the percentage of victims that are adults is climbing steadily – perhaps signifying that more adults are riding or that fewer children are riding.
2. Approximately 47 percent of bicycle fatalities occur in just four states: California, Florida, New York, and Texas. While these are among the most populous states, the figure is still remarkably high – the same states account for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities.
How to Drive Defensively:
1. Wear reflective gear
2. Use battery-powered lights when riding at dawn or dusk
3. Add headlights when riding in the dark
4. Look for passing motorists
Number of cyclists killed in US traffic accidents since 1932: 50,000
Number of cyclists killed in 2004: 725
Most car related cycling accidents take place at intersections.
The Ride of Silence will take place in the U.S., England, China, Australia, and New Zealand. People ride to remember cyclists who have died or been injured in traffic accidents and raise awareness that cyclists share the road with drivers. The Ride of Silence is a silent, slow procession that asks cyclists to ride no faster than 12mph.
Going The Distance-Pedalers Holding Ride Of Silence The Frederick News-Post, May 14, 2006
Bicycling Crashes In Perspective Bicyclinginfo.org
Resources on the Web: