Bicycle/in-line skating/skateboarding safety - injury statistics and incidence rates

The following statistics are the latest available from the National Safe Kids Campaign, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

Injury and death rates:

  • A total of 225 children and adolescents ages 14 and under died in bicycle-related crashes in 1997.
  • Since 1992, more than 33 children and adolescents ages 14 and under have died in in-line skating crashes - the majority of the crashes were collisions with motor vehicles.
  • More than 360,000 children and adolescents ages 14 and under were treated for bicycle-related injuries at hospital emergency rooms in 1998.
  • More than 67,000 children and adolescents ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for in-line skating-related injuries, and more than 32,000 children and adolescents ages 5 to 14 were treated for roller-skating-related injuries in 1998.
  • More than 27,500 children and adolescents ages 5 to 14 were treated for skateboarding-related injuries in hospital emergency rooms in 1998.
  • Head injuries are the most common and severe form of injury, accounting for more than 60 percent of bicycle-related deaths, more than two-thirds of bicycle-related hospital admissions, and about one-third of hospital emergency room visits for bicycling injuries.
  • Motor vehicles are involved in the majority (90 percent) of bicycle-related fatal crashes.

Where and when:

  • Fatal bicycle-related crashes involving children and adolescents tend to occur at non-intersection locations (66 percent).
  • Most child and adolescent bicycle crashes occur between May and August and between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • The majority of child and adolescent bicycle-related fatalities occur on minor roads, typically within one mile of the home.
  • When children and adolescents ages 14 and under ride their bicycles during non-daylight hours, they are four times more likely to be injured.
  • The majority of bicycle-related fatal crashes (80 percent) among children and adolescents ages 14 and under occur because of the bicyclist's behavior, such as riding into the street without stopping, swerving into traffic, running stop signs, or riding against the flow of traffic.

Who:

  • The majority of children (70 percent) and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 14 years ride bicycles (27.7 million).
  • Children and adolescents ages 14 and under are five times more likely to sustain injuries in a bicycle-related crash than any other age group.
  • Children and adolescents make up 24 percent of all bicycle-related deaths and over 50 percent of bicycle-related injuries.
  • Any child or adolescent who rides without a bicycle helmet increases his/her risk of sustaining a head injury in a crash, and increases the risk of being involved in a fatal crash by 14 times.
  • Males account for the majority of bicycle-related deaths (80 percent) and injuries (75 percent).

Helmets:

  • No more than 25 percent of child and adolescent bicyclists use bicycle helmets, although statistics show the helmet can drastically reduce the risk of death and injury and the severity of injury. Bicycle helmets should also be used when riding scooters.
  • Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85 percent and brain injury by 88 percent.
  • Children and adolescents between the ages of 11 and 14 reportedly are least likely to use a bicycle helmet (11 percent).
  • The majority of fatal bicycle crashes involving children and adolescents (75 percent) could have been prevented with bicycle helmets.