The current injury situation of bicyclists - A medical and technical crash analysis

Department for Trauma, Orthopaedic and Foot Surgery, Coburg Clinical Center, and Hannover Medical School, Germany.
The Journal of trauma (Impact Factor: 2.96). 05/2007; 62(5):1118-22. DOI: 10.1097/01.ta.0000221060.78894.cb
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of the study was to analyze the actual injury situation of bicyclists in Germany to create a basis for effective preventive measures.
Technical and medical data were prospectively collected shortly after the crash at the crash scenes.
Included were 4,264 injured bicyclists from 1985 to 2003. Fifty-five percent of the bicyclists were male and 45% were women. The mean age of bicyclists was 52.0 years. The crashes took place in urban areas in 95.2% of the cases, and in rural areas in 4.8% of the cases. Collision opponents were cars in 65.8%, trucks in 7.2%, bicyclists in 7.4%, standing objects in 8.8%, multiple opponents or objects in 4.3%, and others in 6.5%. The mean collision speed was 21.3 km/h. The helmet use rate was 1.7%. Fifty-five percent of bicyclists used bicycle traffic lanes before the crash. The mean Maximum Abbreviated Injury Scale/Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 1.45 of 3.9. The incidence of multiple injuries (ISS>16)/death was 2.0%/1.5%. The ISS/Maximum Abbreviated Injury Scale score was higher in bicyclists without a helmet than in bicyclists with a helmet, and in bicyclists who had not used bicycle traffic lanes than in bicyclists who had used bicycle traffic lanes (t test, p<0.05).
In bicyclists, head and extremities are at high risk for injuries. The helmet use rate is unsatisfactorily low. Remarkably, two-thirds of the head injuries could have been prevented by helmets. More consequent helmet use and an extension of bicycle traffic lanes for a better separation of bicyclists and motorized vehicles would be simple but very effective preventive measures.

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