Bike rider and car dooring
Don't fear the crash

Although bike crashes are rare, fear of a collision or of falling off your bike is often regarded as a reason not to ride by those who don’t ride a bike.

Furthermore, the benefit in physical and mental health that flow from regular riding outweigh the negatives from crashes.

But there is a paradox: among those that do ride the riders who most fear crashes are those that have never crashed.

On the other hand, those that have crashed are far less stressed about crashing.

The insights come from a research project conducted by scientists at the Technical University of Denmark and at SWOV in the Netherlands.

The researchers were interested in interactions between the advantages cycling brought to mental and physical health and the possible health consequences of crash involvement.

With help from the Danish Road Safety Council, The Danish Cyclist Federation, and the social network “City of cyclists - Odense” they surveyed both riders who had crashed and riders who had not.

While non-crash cyclists reported on average more distress such as anxiety than did riders that had crashed, there was two key differences between the groups: riders who crashed rode a bike much more than those who didn’t crash, and there were slightly more females in the non-crash group.

The riders who crashed covered considerably more distance (50%) than those who did not, which would have naturally increased their exposure to possible crashes.

Only riders who rated their crashes as “severe” reported as many distress symptoms as the less active non-crash riders.

"All in all, fear of crash involvement should not dissuade people from cycling", the study concluded.

"Cycling crashes are rare, and most are not perceived as severe, and the possible benefits from cycling in terms of physical and mental health and quality of life outweigh the negatives from crashes.

"Still, further public efforts should go towards the prevention of severe crashes."

Like our articles?

Become a Member and help fund our advocacy work.

Join Now

Become our friend

Find out more about Bicycle Network and support us in making it easier for people to ride bikes.

Become our friend - Footer