According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, roughly 800 bicycle riders were killed on the roadways in 2015, a spike of over 12%, and another 45,000 sustained injuries. Of those killed, approximately 37 were under 14 years old. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety explains that most of the fatalities are the result of severe head injuries.
The Maryland State Police say that in the greater Baltimore area there is an average of about six bicycle fatalities each year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced more cause for concern as both Rocky Mountain and Norco brand bicycles are being recalled due to problems that could potentially lead to accident injuries.
Rocky Mountain Recall
This recall was announced in December 2017 and involves about 1,300 bicycles sold in the U.S. and 1,800 in Canada. The problem is associated with the housing for the brake cable which was improperly secured and has shown to cause the bicycle’s brakes to fail. The models are the 2018 year Altitude, Instinct and Pipeline mountain bicycle brands, which are composed of aluminum and carbon fiber. The model information on the bicycle can be found on a sticker that is located on the upper tube. Additional model information may be found on the rear triangle near the seat or by referencing your owner’s manual or purchase receipt.
This recall involves approximately 1,750 Norco models for years 2015 to 2017. The problem stems from cranks that pose a fall hazard because they can bend or break under normal use, which has occurred in at least four instances. Owners are encouraged to discontinue riding these models and visit your local bike dealer to have the AC-30 crankset replaced with an AC-13 unit at no charge. The recall details are as follows:
- Model year 2015, 2016, & 2017 20 inch and 24 inch children’s bicycles
- They have a Samox SAC30-111NA crank that are 140 or 152mm
- The models are branded as Storm, Charger, Fluid HT and Fluid FS
Bicycle Injury Prevention
The recalls have brought about increased discussion regarding bicycle safety, an issue that agencies in Maryland have been placing greater emphasis on lately. The leading way of preventing head injuries for riders is to wear a proper bicycle helmet. State law currently required those under the age of 16 to wear a helmet when traveling on public property, which included trails and sidewalks. Several localities are establishing their own ordinances regarding helmets including:
- Allegany County: Helmets must be worn by those under 16
- Howard County: Helmets must be worn by those under 17
- Montgomery County: Helmets must be worn by those under 18
- Sykesville: Helmets are required for all riders regardless of age
Helmets are capable of reducing the likelihood of a head injury by roughly 50% and injuries to the face or neck can be reduced by over 30%. The state encourages parents to take responsibility for child safety by providing proper fitting helmets.