In an average year in Utah, 6 bicyclists are killed and nearly 850 are involved in crashes with motor vehicles. Nearly 60% of bicyclists involved in a bicycle/motor vehicle crash are younger than 20 years of age and more than three-fourths (79%) are male (Violence and Injury Prevention Program, UDOH). For the years 1996-2005, Utah had the 15th highest bicycle fatality rate in the nation (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Head injury is the most common serious injury from bicycle-motor vehicle crashes. Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85% (New England Journal of Medicine). A statewide helmet observational survey conducted in Utah in 2007 showed that 23% of elementary school-age bicyclists, 14% of secondary school-age bicyclists, and 58% of adult bicyclists wear bicycle helmets. Download the Bicycle Helmet Use in Utah, 2008 fact sheet and the Bicycle Helmet Use in Utah, 1994-2003 report.
Utah is one of 14 states with no state or local bicycle helmet laws (Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute). In general, states with mandatory helmet laws have significantly higher usage rates than states without laws. A study conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2002 concluded helmet laws increase the probability of helmet use by an average of 8.4%
Bicycle crashes cost victims and communities millions of dollars annually. In Utah in 2005, costs to treat bicyclists injured in crashes with motor vehicles at emergency departments and admitted to the hospital exceeded $6.8 million ( Center for Health Data, UDOH).
By obeying the rules of the road, nearly all bicycle-motor vehicle crashes are preventable.