As Fox Valley and other Wisconsin residents begin to enjoy the nice weather, the roads will be used by bicyclists of all ages. Unfortunately, that means more injuries. After years of declining bicycle fatalities, the recent increase is troublesome.
Latest statistics actually show that bicycle injuries for people under 20 years old have kept declining, but injuries to people over the age of 20 have gone up significantly. Because at least 54% of bicyclists killed in 2015 were not wearing a helmet, there is a suggestion that young people have heeded the warnings and have been using helmets, while many adults have not. Additionally, 85% of the fatalities in 2015 were males. Because head injuries are still the most prevalent, and the most likely to cause severe injuries and death, everyone should be wearing a helmet when riding a bike.
The Governors Highway Safety Association has issued a comprehensive report on the subject, and it is free and available for download here:
In the Fox Valley, projects are underway to add bike lanes, such as the project on Evergreen Dr. in Appleton and Grand Chute. While bike lanes should help prevent injuries, it is not a cure all. In fact, according to the GHSA report, 70% of bicycle fatalities occur in urban areas with 30% in rural areas. It can be useful to check with your local cycling organizations for information on safety, bike lane changes, and popular riding spots. For example, the Fox Cities Cycling Association provides online information regarding bike lanes:
Make sure to watch for events in your community for free helmets and other safety items that are often provided by Appleton and other local police departments. The community must work together to prevent bicycle injuries. Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC participates in those efforts, and when necessary, will fight for the rights of bicyclists who may be injured through no fault of their own.