In a society where jumping on a bicycle to get around the city is considered as a very real option for many, we question just how safe it is. In figures obtained by the Bay of Plenty Times , we discover how many people have been taken to local hospitals from crashes involving bikes and how many people have suffered serious injury as a result.
The figures also reveal which age group has been hospitalised the most and which gender is more likely to get hurt.
Close to $3 million has been spent treating cycling injuries in the Bay of Plenty over the past five years, with almost 400 people hospitalised in Tauranga and Whakatāne alone.
That's according to new data that also revealed which age group was most likely to wind up in hospital after a cycling crash.
But if you're thinking middle-aged men in lycra, you might be surprised.
Pre-teen boys have been rushed to hospital with cycling injuries more times than any other group in Tauranga.
The injuries have contributed to the Bay of Plenty District Health Board spending close to $3 million treating cyclists over the past five years.
Data obtained by the Bay of Plenty Times showed 397 people were taken to Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals with a cycling-related injury from January 2013 to December 2018.
Of those, 113 were children - 61 were aged 10 to 14.
Boys in this age group represented the largest sector of all patients with 45 admissions, compared to 16 for girls.
About 20 children aged 10 to 14 were injured on the road, compared to 17 at home, eight in a sports area, and four on a footpath.
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Two of the footpath injuries involved children being hit by cars backing out of driveways.
Others were later found to have not suffered injury.
The data was collated by the Midland Trauma System, which canvassed 18 age groups.
In total, 196 accidents happened on the road.
Of the 397 hospitalisations, 314 people were taken to Tauranga Hospital. And of these, 35 suffered major injuries.
The estimated cost to the district health board was $2,964,772.
Tauranga mum Monique Finlayson knows just how vulnerable young boys on their bikes can be.
Finlayson's son Ben was knocked off his bike in August while riding home from school.
The then 12-year-old was hit near Maungatapu Underpass by an older driver who left the scene, Finlayson said. Ben was left deeply shaken and his bike was written off.
She believed Ben's helmet saved his life.
Although Ben was not taken to the hospital he suffered pain to his ribs, grazes and a sore leg. An off-duty doctor attended to Ben on the side of the road before bringing him home.
Police tracked down the driver, who was let off with a warning, Finlayson said.
Finlayson said people rarely kept to the speed limit along the Maungatapu to Turret Rd causeway.
"People need to slow down," she said.
"I find the 60km/h speed limit is ignored and I see cars going well over 80km/h so the chances of a child being killed are high along that Turret Rd and underpass."
Bay of Plenty Joint Road Safety Committee chairwoman Margaret Murray-Benge said a lot of good work was happening, such as Bikes in Schools, which helps introduce children to bikes and riding safely. However, the onus was not just on children.
"I think people have become very aware of driving through school areas and slowing down, but for kids on bikes, it's an issue we are going to have to deal with seriously."
Gate Pā School principal Richard Inder said the school regularly worked with children to get them on bikes, many supplied through charity. This helped buoy children's confidence and road safety knowledge, he said.
"We teach them at school on the grass but also teach them on Cameron Rd and the avenues. It's a wonderful programme to give the kids a bit more confidence."
Inder said no student travelling to or from school had been injured, but most rode their bikes on the footpath.
* The data was collated by the Midland Trauma System and did not include any cyclist who died before getting to hospital, where the injury did not result in admission, cyclists treated at primary care facilities and those who sought no treatment at all.