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Jerrold A, Kaplan

Asst. Urban Transportation Planning Engineer

Office of Planning and Research

Federal Highway Administration

San Francisco, California


A study of adult bicycle riders who ride ride at least three times a month was conducted as a Master's Thesis project in the spring of 1975. The subjects, ranging in age from 16 to 82 years old, were members of the national bicycling organization, the League of American Wheelmen. A mailback questionnaire was completed and returned by about 50 percent of the 8,405 members. Almost 39 percent, or 3,270 questionnaires, were used in the final analyses. Demographic and bicycle description data and information were recorded along with trip characteristics and accident experience for the year 1974.

An estimate of miles traveled was calculated through the respondent's use of an odometer, or similar mileage recording device. Over a third of all subjects reported using an odometer; those not using them reported mileages that did not differ significantly. The subjects traveled an average of 2,332 miles during 8.9 months that they rode a bicycle. Males, who rode almost 40 percent more miles than females, had an accident rate 60 percent lower than females. The oldest respondents (ages 66-82 years old) traveled, on the average, more miles than any other age group, but experienced the lowest accident rate.

As cycling experience increased, accident involvement appeared to decrease dramatically: About one out of every 17 subjects was involved in a collision or serious fail. that required professional medical treatment. Bicycle accident rates appear to be about twice as high as motor vehicle accident rates; age, sex, and years of experience of the bicycle rider all are influential on the rate. The data also suggest that safety conscious individuals (those wearing helmets, using rear view mirrors, and always obeying laws) are involved in less accidents than others.

Time did not permit complete analysis of the data collected. Travel characteristics and accident experience information is still available for further study by interested persons. The data file can be obtained by sending a nine-track tape (1,600 b.p.i., standard label) to the Federal Highway Administration, Urban Planning Division (F-BiP-24), Washington, D. C., 20590 - ATTN. Mr. Dan Bryant.

Copies of the 125-page report can be obtained from the Office of Highway Safety (HHS-20), Federal Highway Adminsitration, Washington, D. C., 20590 - ATTN. Mr. Richard Richter, until the supply is exhausted.

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