Photo: DeltaMike on Flickr
The other day Lloyd highlighted the ways in which cyclists are most often killed in altercations with motor vehicles. But not everyone shakes off this mortal coil after a bike accident. Many folk are injured. Now it seems that he severity of injuries and time spent in hospitalized for bicycle injuries has significantly increased At least that is the findings of the Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center.One Third of Bicycle Injury Victims had Head Trauma
Jeffry is also the senior attending surgeon at the Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center at Denver Health Medical Center. He made a presentation on the study at the 2009 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons. He and his researchers noted that over 33% of the record bicycle injury victims had a significant head injury. They observed that helmet use had not concurrently increased during the study period.
National Research Needed
"If our data is a microcosm of what is going on nationally, we may be on the cusp of an injury epidemic," Dr. Kashuk remarked, noting that this small study was carried out in Denver, which has one of the most well-developed bicycle path networks in the USA. "If we are seeing an increase in injuries in a metropolitan area that has fairly mature bike infrastructure from the standpoint of bike pathways, there's reason for concern about what's happening in metropolitan areas that don't have that level of maturity."
Researchers at the University of Colorado now want to take the study nationwide and are seeking funding to help them collate the data. Dr. Kashuk observes that while bike transportation has a whole swag of beneficial outcomes, it also "has real potential to raise medical costs because our infrastructure may not be ready for it."
Jeffry Kashuk, in a media release from the ::American College of Surgeons). points to all the safety aspects that have been developed for motor vehicle users. "If even a percentage of that kind of investment went into safety vis-a-vis bike paths and community infrastructure, we would protect people from major injury."
Previous studies have suggested that even calibrating in injuries, the overall health benefit outweighs potential injury by 20 to one. (Will try to dig out the reference of that statistic in a later post.) Maybe a USA wide research project like Denver undertook will lower that ratio, but for the moment stay on your bike and ride defensively and very alert.
Story first spied at Sports One Source.