The number of seniors bicycling has been increasing steadily for more than a decade. Unfortunately, more seniors riding bicycles also means more injuries and fatalities. In 2018 (the latest year for which we have final statistics), 857 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S.
Statistics tell the same story about Virginia bicyclists.
- The number of seniors (over 55) who were involved in bicycling accidents rose from 14.85 percent of all people involved in bicycling accidents in 2010 to 23.44 percent of all people involved in bicycling accidents in 2019
- The number of seniors injured in bicycle-involved accidents rose from 61 (9.3 percent of all injuries to bicyclists in 2010 to 139 (18.43 percent) of all people injured in bicycling accidents in 2019.
- The number of fatalities among senior bicyclists rose from 1 (7.69 percent) of all bicyclist fatalities in 2010 to 139 (18.43 percent) of all bicyclist fatalities in 2019.
- During the same period, the number of children involved, injured, or killed in bicyclist accidents decreased.
- Seniors who are new riders in the U.S. account for almost 30% of new riders in recent years.
- 31% of registrations for bicycling events were by seniors aged 55 and over.
Benefits of Bicycling for Seniors
Experts are divided in their opinion about the value of bicycling for senior adults. Some believe that bicycling is not a good activity for seniors because they are likely to be injured. Others believe that bicycling is an ideal exercise for older adults who want to remain fit. The attribute injuries to inexperience, not paying attention while riding, or using the wrong techniques for riding.
For present purposes, let’s assume that bicycling is safe for seniors. What are the benefits of bicycling for older adults?
- Bicycling is a low-impact, low-stress exercise. The movements that propel your bicycle place no strain on the body.
- Bicycling is a good way to lose weight and stay active.
- Bicycling is a good way to reduce your risk of cancer.
- Bicycling is good for your heart.
- Bicycling is good for your memory. When riding a bicycle your body operates at top capacity. This means that your brain is fully oxygenated. This, in turn, stimulates the part of your brain responsible for memory.
- Bicycling with others is good for you. Seniors who have an active social life are healthier, happier, and they live longer. You can ride together to a destination, or you can ride to a specific destination for a meal or coffee.
- Bicycling is good for body strength.
- Bicycling is good for your sex life. Studies have indicated that elderly men who bicycle have about 25% more sex than others; women are able to delay menopause by up to five years.
- Seniors who bicycle tend to live longer.
- Bicycling is fun, especially when done with others.
- Bicycling improves your immunity.
- Bicycling also has these benefits:
- Stable testosterone levels in men
- Preserved strength
- Constant body fat levels
- Improved cholesterol levels.
Safety Tips for Bicycling Seniors
Many safety tips for bicyclists apply regardless of age. Others make particular sense for senior adults.
- Review the bicycling laws in your state and/or city/county.
- Check your bicycle carefully to ensure that everything is working properly.
- Take a few practice rides before you head out on a highway. Try to learn the limits of your bicycle and your body.
- Be sure to purchase and use the right safety equipment:
- A certified well-fitting helmet.
- Knee and elbow pads (in case of a fall)
- Reflective strips on your bike (for night visibility)
- A reflective jacket
- Plan your route carefully. Think about the topography and the traffic.
- Remember that your reflexes are slower now.
- Don’t try to keep up with other bicyclists if you can’t. The faster you ride, the greater the chance of an accident.
- Never use earphones when bicycling.
- Learn and use the appropriate hand signals.
- Get well off of a road if you need to stop.
- Rest when you are tired.
- Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs when riding.
Above all, take it easy, enjoy the ride, and stay safe.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycling accident due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, and through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Bettina Altizer and her expert team have been helping people of all ages who have been injured in bicycle accidents for more than 30 years. We understand that when you are recovering from an injury, legal action is about the money.