Biking 'more dangerous' than driving in Sweden
Published: 4 May 12 10:20 CET
Almost half of the serious injuries caused in Sweden’s traffic accidents involve cyclists, a new study reveals, raising questions about the need for a new bicycle safety strategy.
While many may assume that cars are responsible for the majority of injuries resulting from traffic accidents, a new study has shown that it is the two-wheeler that sends most people to hospital, according to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.
In fact, only 28 percent of injuries involve cars. Meanwhile, 48 percent involve bikes, 8 percent motorized scooters, and 7 percent pedestrians. Motorcycles make up just five percent of the road injuries, and buses 2 percent.
Statistics were taken from emergency hospitals in nine major Swedish cities, as well as from traffic accident statistics, and the report was compiled by the Folksam insurance company.
Some 3,000 cyclists are hurt so badly each year that they are permanently injured or need to be taken to hospital, yet this is not due to crashing into cars.
The main cause for a fall is loose gravel, road slipperiness in winter, and poorly maintained cycle paths, problems which cause some 70 percent of the biking accidents wrote the paper.
“We’re seeing an increasingly serious problem. We need a broader strategy to deal with this, and we cannot simply settle on the idea of a demand for bike helmets,” said Maria Krafft of Folksam to DN.
There are concerns that not enough emphasis is placed on cyclists, with car safety consuming most people’s attention, thereby improving dramatically over the past few years, according to Krafft.
“The cyclists, however, have stayed on the same level. They have never been truly prioritized with this type of work. More and more people will be cycling in the future. To solve this problem we need a cycle strategy,” Krafft told the paper.
Meanwhile, some 375,000 people use a bicycle to commute to work daily in Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm.
In Lund, a student city in southern Sweden, bicycle accidents were much more common that in the other nine recorded cities, with 78 percent of serious injuries being cycle-related.
Stockholm’s statistics showed 41 percent of accidents being bike-related, and 31 percent being car-related.
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