Dr. Gillian Hotz: Making Biking Safer
Most accidents happen a mile from home. But wearing a helmet and using the bike lane are key steps for prevention.
The BikeSafe program really started in about 2005. We started that because just so many kids riding without helmets. It's not that they're not riding, it's that they're just not wearing helmets. And so we looked at some programs that were around the country, and again, very few and none really evidence-based. Oregon has a really good bike program, and some of the other cities where they're very bike-friendly have some good programs but nothing really based for middle school-age kids. So we're really teaching the bike curriculum to the older child that could ride their bike to school, and we've focused in on going to parks and recs programs also, so after-school programs. We spent last summer in a couple parks, and we developed a 3-day bike curriculum, and we're just tweaking that now, but, again, figuring out some specific safety skills that are basic to teach the child so they'll have these lifelong. Most accidents happen a mile from home. As far as bike accidents go, it's interesting that the incidence for 20- to 35-year-olds, especially in Dade County, is a little higher than the younger age group. I think it's because those are the ones that are actually commuting or going to work or have a job with the bike. So it seems to be that age group. And I think a lot of these bike accidents happen because the cars aren't friendly to the bike and there's no bike lane and the bikes are sort of in the way or they're in the wrong place on the road. So I think Miami-Dade is getting a little bit more friendly now with actual proper bike lanes. And I've seen a lot of change in actually New York City where they've got a lot more bike lanes going on now, much more bike-friendly, because a lot of people commute and have jobs on bikes in that city.
Posted on BrainLine June 28, 2012.
Gillian Hotz, PhD is the director of the KiDZ Neuroscience Center and the Concussion, WalkSafe™ & BikeSafe™ Programs in the Department of Neurosurgery & The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Produced by Brian King and Vicky Youcha, BrainLine.