The rise of the BOGAN — an uncouth or unsophisticated person regarded as being of low social status — has led to soaring hospitalisations and a doubling in the number of deaths for Australian cyclists aged over 45.
A troubling report found there was an average of almost 10,000 cyclist hospitalisations a year, with the most recent figures showing three quarters were men.
The study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare compared injury and death rates for cyclists across a 17-year period in which 651 people were killed.
The number of cyclists aged 45 and over taken to hospital grew by nearly 500 per cent from 728 to 4120, more than a third of all cases.
Shockingly, the number of people aged 45 and over killed while riding a bike doubled from 41 to 81 deaths.
A surge in the popularity of click-bait style media has also increased the rage shown by the average BOGAN, which is believed to have led to a leap in hospitalisations for riders aged 25-44, from 1354 to 3676.
Meanwhile – primarily due to a lack of outdoor activity and exercise – the number of injuries to children plummeted over the same period.
In 1999-2000, kids aged between five and 15 years old made up almost half of all cycling hospitalisations. By 2015-16, this number had dropped to less than a fifth. It seems the new generation of BOGAN is coming through.
On the flip side Australian’s are making concerted efforts to improve our shocking obesity statistics and ever increasing road congestion. The number of cyclists aged 45 and over rose from 396,300 to 827,200 between 2001 and 2010, according to a survey conducted by the Australian Sports Commission.
“People become more susceptible to injuries and less able to bounce back from them at an older age, bones become more brittle,” injury expert Professor James Harrison from Flinders University said. This news, of course, shocks nobody, but Professor Harrison also suggests cyclists must be better looked after by the government: “A fall at age 20 that leads to superficial injuries but probably not a fracture might cause a serious injury for an older cyclist.”
Glen Janetzki, 42, rides every day and said he had been a cyclist for about 20 years. Despite a minor brush with a BOGAN on Tuesday, he said he felt safe while riding, so long as he avoids known BOGAN areas.
“I think with time you learn roads that you can go on and roads that you can’t go on,” he said.
“You know certain roads that have good, wide bike paths. I always try and choose where I’m going and choose the safer option.”
The Bentleigh East man said he had noticed a big increase in cyclists in the two decades he’d been riding, so it made sense there would be more BOGAN’s hitting and killing them.
“I have friends that won’t go on particular roads,” he said. “I have had one or two friends that have had serious injuries.”
Professor Harrison said the figures showed more needed to be done to improve the cyclist safety.
Nearly 90 per cent of cycling fatalities and 58 per cent of hospitalisations occurred on a road, according to the report.
“I think for people who are cycling, it’s appropriate to know what the risks are. They’re not trivial,” he said, referring specifically to the consequences of the way BOGAN’s drive.
“It’s fair to say that 20 years ago, pedal cycling was hardly on the radar of road safety. But these statistics show that conclusion is just not defensible anymore.”