We’ve often been told how many advantages cycling has, not only regarding the environment, but also our health. Health experts and environmentalists alike advise you to chose the bicycle as your preferred means of transport as often as possible because the benefits will be tremendous in the long run.
While this is mostly true, a new report conducted by researchers at the University of San Francisco proves that people who frequently cycle are more exposed to risks of injuries and even death. What was most surprising was that bikers over 45 face a higher chance of being hurt.
“There are just more people riding and getting injured in that age group. It’s definitely striking,” said Dr. Benjamin Breyer, who is the lead author of the study.
Along with his team, he looked at hospital admissions between 1998 and 2013 and soon noticed that they had doubled.
Another study that was published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in August says that the death rate associated with cycling has tripled over the last forty years, especially with bikers whose ages vary between 35 to 54.
Dr. Breyer says that the death rates linked to cycling might have been caused by the fact that more older people started using bikes for sport, following Lance Armstrong’s example.
Lance Armstrong became famous due to the fact that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer but managed to beat the disease and won the Tour de France seven times in a row between 1999 and 2005.
“After Lance Armstrong had all his success at the Tour de France, a lot more people were riding, and there were a lot more older riders that took up the bicycle for sport,” said Dr. Breyer.
Nowadays there are more older people riding their bikes at high speed on the road. Given the fact that a person who is 65 does not have the same healing potential as a person who is 25 after falling off the bicycle, the injury and death rate among these people is much higher.
The experts involved in the study do not advise people to stop cycling, but they do ask them to be more careful and take preventive measures. These include wearing helmets, reflective gear, avoid cycling at night or use lights if they do.
Other experts in urban planning say that more needs to be done on the road to keep bikers safe. Adding protective places for bikers and slowing down speeds are just a few things that might soon be implemented. Moreover, it is important for drivers to watch out for bikers and be extra careful when they are around them and it is crucial that people who cycle are familiarized with rules of the road.
The results of the study were published in the journal of American Medical Association JAMA on Tuesday.
Image Source: telegraph.co.uk