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ADOLESCENT MEDICINE :: Bicycle/Skating - Safety

Bicycle / In-Line Skating / Skateboarding Safety - Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates

The following statistics are the latest available from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

Injury and death rates:

  • More than 3.5 million children 14 and under suffer medically treated sports injuries each year.
  • Nearly 50 percent of children 14 and under hospitalized for bicycle-related injuries are diagnosed with a brain injury.
  • Motor vehicles are involved in the majority (more than 90 percent) of bicycle-related fatal crashes.
  • In 2003, nearly 285,600 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for bike related injuries. 

Where and when:

  • Most child and adolescent bicycle crashes occur between May and August and between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • The majority of child and adolescent bicycle-related fatalities occur on minor roads, typically within one mile of the home.
  • When children and adolescents ages 14 and under ride their bicycles during non-daylight hours, they are four times more likely to be injured.
  • The majority of bicycle-related fatal crashes (80 percent) among children and adolescents ages 14 and under occur because of the bicyclist's behavior, such as riding into the street without stopping, swerving into traffic, running stop signs, or riding against the flow of traffic.

Who:

  • The majority of children (70 percent) between the ages of 5 and 14 years ride bicycles.
  • Children ages 14 and under are five times more likely to sustain injuries in a bicycle-related crash than any other age group.
  • Any child who rides without a bicycle helmet increases his/her risk of sustaining a head injury in a crash, and increases the risk of being involved in a fatal crash by 14 times.
  • Children under age 10 are at higher risk of serious injury, including head injuries.

Helmets:

  • No more than 41 percent of child and adolescent bicyclists use bicycle helmets, although statistics show the helmet can drastically reduce the risk of death and injury and the severity of injury. Bicycle helmets should also be used when riding scooters.
  • Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85 percent and brain injury by 88 percent.
  • Children and adolescents between the ages of 11 and 14 reportedly are least likely to use a bicycle helmet (11 percent).
  • The majority of fatal bicycle crashes involving children and adolescents (75 percent) could have been prevented with bicycle helmets.

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.
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