Bicycle Accident Risk in California: Elders and Children

Active young bikers with safety gears cycling on urban roadWho is more at risk for bike accidents in California – children and teens, or the elderly?

According to injury data collected from hospitals by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, children and teens are getting into less bicycle accidents than they used to. However, for cyclists 55 years and older, injury rates are increasing. Additionally, compared with younger riders, seniors are more likely to suffer serious injuries that require hospitalization.

Due to loss of bone mass and density resulting from aging, seniors are more likely to suffer fractures from the same trauma that a younger person would not necessarily suffer fractures from.

Seniors are also more likely to be on medications that can increase harm after an accident, such as blood thinners.

Statistics Related to Cycling Accidents in the Past Decade

  • For senior cyclists whose injuries required hospitalization, the older they were, the more likely they were to report having been admitted as an inpatient, implying more serious injuries than those who are admitted as outpatients. For 45 to 49 year olds, 16.2 percent were admitted to a hospital. For those 50 to 54, 19.4 percent were admitted. For seniors 55 and older, 23.3 percent were admitted.
  • Between 2007 and 2015, the injury rate for people between 50 and 54 went from 11.6 to 15.32 injuries per 10,000 residents in San Diego
  • Injury rates for children dropped dramatically. However, the largest number of injuries throughout 2015 were in the age brackets 10-14 and 15-19.

But don’t let these statistics discourage you – the health benefits of cycling for seniors are excellent. Cycling is the ultimate low-impact exercise, builds strength and stamina, promotes good mental health and is great for your heart and immune system. Next week, we’ll discuss these health benefits and tips to help seniors get the most out of their bike ride.


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