An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released on Wednesday found 12,000 cyclists were admitted to hospital in the year to June 2016 – up 60 per cent since 2000.
Making up the majority of the increase was people aged over 45, with admissions booming by 466 per cent.
Older cyclists now make up a quarter of all riders admitted to hospital.
Meanwhile, the proportion of hospital-treated cyclists aged under 16 fell dramatically – from more than half in 1999/2000 to just one in five in 2015/16.
“Those aged 45 and over were more likely to have life-threatening injuries, stay longer in hospital and be transferred to another hospital,” injury epidemiologist and report co-author James Harrison said in a statement.
The increase in cycling injuries overall flies in the face of sustained drops in hospitalised motorists and pedestrians, which both fell more than one per cent each year.
Annual cycling deaths – of which 90 per cent occur on the road – remained steady at 38.
Bicycle Network, which represents 50,000 riders nationally, said the data still showed the risk of having a crash when riding a bike is still extremely low.
“However, it’s not good enough that serious injuries and deaths for bike riders are not improving when it is for other road users,” chief executive Craig Richards told AAP in a statement.
“If we’re to solve our inactivity and congestion crisis, we need more people riding bikes. We have to do more to look after those riding and make those wanting to ride feel comfortable.”
He pointed to the City of Melbourne’s recent proposal to reduce CBD speed limits to 30km/h and build 50km of protected bike lanes.
The AIHW report showed most cyclists in hospital in 2015/16 had simply fallen off their bike, especially in off-road circumstances.
But an average of 30 riders a week were hurt in collisions with motor vehicles – making up almost a quarter of on-road cycling injuries.
Just seven motorists needed hospital treatment after hitting a cyclist.
Hours before the report was released, a man cycling in the backstreets of the Sydney suburb of Lidcombe on Tuesday afternoon became the latest rider killed on Australian roads.
The driver accused of hitting him fled the scene.
Want to comment?
Send us an email, making it clear which story you’re commenting on and including your full name (required for publication) and phone number (only for verification purposes). Please put “Reader views” in the subject.
We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts.
InDaily has changed the way we receive comments. Go here for an explanation.
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.