Bike riding is great exercise. Safety experts say it can also be dangerous, and wearing a helmet during every bike outing is the best way to minimize head injuries.

According to the most recent data available, the U.S. Department of Transportation says 45,000 people were injured in bicycling accidents in 2015. In Minnesota, the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports 898 people were injured in bicycling accidents in 2015. That’s a 16% increase over 2014. The OTS only tracks data for bike crashes involving automobiles, so experts say the actual number of cycling accidents is much higher.

The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI) reports in 2014, 86% of people killed while bicycling were age 20 or older. Fifty-six percent of the injured are 25 years or older. Men are three times more likely to be injured.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety – Office of Traffic Safety says motorist and bicyclist are equally to blame for causing accidents. About one-half of all bicycle-vehicle collisions are due to a variety of bicyclist behaviors, such as disregarding a traffic sign or signal. The other half are caused by vehicle driver behaviors, such as inattention and distraction. The DPS has compiled a list of Rule of the Road. Here’s a link to that information.

Helmets provide protection

The BHSI reports that in a majority of bicyclist deaths, the most serious injuries are to the head. BHSI says during the past few years, no more than 17 percent of fatally injured bicyclists were wearing helmets. Wearing a properly fitted helmet can reduce brain injuries by up to 66%. To learn how to select and fit a bike helmet, check out this link:

The BHSI has created an informational guide on all the helmets currently available. Here’s a link to their findings for 2017.

Does your family need a refresher course on safe bike riding? Check out this video from Hennepin County Medical Center.

Know Your Numbers

This information is provided by Health Fair 11 as part of its Know Your Numbers Campaign. Health Fair 11 is a non-profit organization that operates with the support of KARE 11 TV and UCare. Learn more at