SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- An average of 940 bicyclists in Utah are hit by motor vehicles annually, causing the 10th-highest average for bicycle mortality rates in the nation, according to a study.
From 1994 to 2003, Utah averaged seven deaths in bicycle accidents, according to the Utah Department of Health report Bicycle Helmet Use in Utah. The majority of crash victims die of head injuries.
While overall helmet use is increasing, the study found only 3 percent of Utah teenagers wear helmets.
"We are very concerned about young cyclists because they are the ones getting into the majority of crashes with motor vehicles," said Gary Mower, author of the study and UDOH bicycle safety coordinator.
The study found teens and young children are involved in nearly two-thirds of all bicycle/motor vehicle crashes and account for 41 percent of all bicycle deaths.
The study found that helmet use for elementary school-age bicyclists went from 3 percent in 1994 to 20 percent last year. Use by secondary school-age children rose from .2 percent in 1994, but only to 5 percent. And 40 percent of adults were using helmets, up from 34 percent in 1994.
"If everyone in Utah wore a helmet on every ride, 920 fewer people would be treated in emergency rooms every year," Mower said. "And we would save at least $19 million annually in medical costs."
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)