A cyclist in Chesterfield was hit and killed by an SUV on the 12000 block of Hull St. last Thursday. Story here.

This tragedy reminds me that, until the Richmond region comes to its senses and does a better job building complete streets that accomodate multiple transportation options, those of us who bike around here need to be extremely careful. A few stats for you from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • More than 49,000 bicyclists have died in traffic crashes in the United States since 1932, the first year that bicycle fatality estimates were recorded.
  • In 2004, an estimated 534,883 bicycle-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.
  • In 2004, the average age of bicyclists killed was 38.7 years, and the average age of those injured was 28.6 years.
  • Bicycle helmets are 85 to 88 percent effective in mitigating head and brain injuries, making the use of helmets the single most effective way to reduce head injuries and fatalities resulting from bicycle crashes.
  • Despite the fact that nearly 70 percent of all fatal bicycle crashes involve head injuries, only about 20 to 25 percent of all bicyclists wear bicycle helmets.
  • Every dollar spent on bicycle helmets saves society $30 in indirect medical costs and other costs. (Perhaps, therefore, the government should give away helmets with every bike purchase? Not likely.)

I always wear a helmet, and am dismayed at how few others do.  People, seriously, Richmond drivers are insane.  Don’t trust them- wear a helmet.