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Bike Accidents are Up for Adults, Down for Kids

Bike Accidents are Up for Adults, Down for Kids

David Byrne, front man and cofounder of the Talking Heads, is also an avid bicyclist. In 2010 he wrote Bicycle Diaries; tales of riding his bike in far flung places, from Sydney to San Francisco. But one evening in New York, while pedaling back from an art opening (he doesn’t own a car) he slipped and broke 2 ribs. It could have been worse. A recent study found the mortality rate among cyclists ages 35 to 54 tripled over the last 40 years from 0.11 to 0.31 per 100,000 riders.

Conversely, over the same period the mortality rate for kids plummeted. But the older set apparently needs to brush-up on bike safety. True, more people are biking for exercise and to commute to work than ever before, but that’s no excuse. Older bicycling adults remain at elevated risk.

So while you may have heard this before, we’ll say it again: Wear a helmet! (Middle-agers need to protect their brains! And you want to show, not just tell, your kids how important helmets are.) Dress in bright/reflective clothes. Always have–and use—a bell and put a light both front and back on your bike. Obey all traffic laws. When riding with friends, stay single file and stay to the right on bike paths. Don’t ride with headphones, and never text or use your cell phone when pedaling. Be aware of what’s happening around you! Bet your kids know these rules by heart. Now it’s your turn.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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