Out of the 143 bicycle accidents which Bellvue’s ER logged during 2009, NYU reports that more than three out of four of the injured were not wearing a helmet. More surprisingly, 13 percent had been drinking. Cars were involved in about 36 percent of the accidents.
Cabs, which aren’t much of an issue in the ‘burbs, were a factor in 35 percent of the accidents. Rockland County riders of all ages are required to wear a helmet.
One danger that both city and village cyclists share is being “doored” by someone who who throws open the door of a parked care without looking first for passing pedestrians or bikers. No statistics were offered for dooring incidents.
Although it seems obvious that helmet use prevents accidents, there are communities where the “bike culture” seems to be just as important as head gear in preventing injuries. The work of transportation planners, considerate behavior by both bikers and motorists and the support of law enforcement make a difference in the accident rate in many communities. In Amsterdam, a city with a low per capita bicycle accident rate, the norm is not to wear a helmet. Dedicated bike lanes and a different relationship between cyclists and motorists cause significantly fewer accidents in this city where bikes are the preferred means for locals to get around.
Finally: Credit where credit is due. We’re proud of our headline (Biking While Baked). But we must humbly bow to the NY Post, a paper that knows a thing or two about eye-catching phrases which make you want to read the story. Their headline? Handle ‘Bars.’