Road Biking or Trail Biking: Which is More Dangerous?

While road biking and trail biking can be easily distinguished, one similarity is the risk of accidents. The CDC estimates that each year in the U.S., “the costs of bicycle injuries and deaths from crashes typically exceed $23 billion.”

No matter what biking you engage in, the possibility of getting in an accident exists. However, the most important question has always remained – which of the two is more dangerous than the other?

Risk factors surrounding road biking

There are many risks when biking on the road, and the biggest one is the presence of cars. Bike accidents involving cars are common. The main cause of such accidents is usually a driver not seeing a cyclist on the road.

The chances of such accidents occurring increase when there are not many cyclists around you on the road. A driver is more likely to be aware when other bikers are present. If you are the only one, you may be at risk as a driver may not expect to see a biker.

Time can also play a part. Riding when visibility is low can put you at risk of accidents. Potholes could be a risk, too. Riding into one can knock you off balance leading to an injury or a damaged wheel.

Risks surrounding trail biking

One major risk in trail or mountain biking is the trail itself. For example, mountain biking trails could be steep or be on the side of a cliff. Trails like that can be dangerous and difficult to ride on for many people.

Also, trees and debris can come in the way of bikers. Even other bikers can collide with each other, which can lead to a dangerous accident.

Other trail biking risks may involve collisions with stationary objects. These objects are usually big and heavy, increasing the risk of injury if a biker runs into them.

Which is more dangerous between both activities?

Regarding collisions, road biking seems to have a higher risk of serious injuries. For example, if you fall while trail biking, it may result in an injury like a bruise or a scrape. There is also the possibility of being run over by another biker.

In road biking, on the other hand, if you are involved in a collision, it will most likely be with a car much heavier than you and your bike. Also, if you fall to the ground with your bike, you are at risk of being run over by a car, which is far more dangerous than being run over by a bike.

Despite this, you must note that riding on the road is simpler than riding on a mountain trail. Road biking demands riding straight and making turns. But with trail biking, the biker has to navigate with their bike in complex ways and around obstacles to avoid falling or crashing.

“One thing to agree on is getting injured while trail biking is more common than getting injured while road biking”says Felix Gonzalez Law Firm .

A study shows that 67 percent of people sustained injuries on trails, while 33 percent were injured on the road. However, when road biking accidents occur, the injuries are usually more serious. 16 percent of head injuries resulted from road biking, with six percent caused by trails, the same study notes.


Both road biking and trail biking have their risks, making it difficult to decide which is the safer activity. But perhaps instead of looking for the most dangerous, people should be more careful while trying. Always be alert and wear protective gear regardless the kind of biking you engage in.

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