Bicycles continue to be used as a regular form of transportation. Estimates for the US population of cyclists range from 500,000 to over 4 million regular riders. While not as frequent as cars or buses, this none the less presents a subpopulation that should be looked at.
In 2011 Juhra et al, published a study based on the injury data from the German town of Munster. Munster has a population of 273,000 with bicycles being the most common form of transport.
Data was pooled from the 6 local hospitals, the local police and 2500 regular riders over the course of a year.
It was found that 70% of riders received some type of injury during the course of the year- far higher than the initial estimate of 37%! 3 fatalities occurred over the course of the year, for a very low fatality rate. Of the 70% who were injured and then sought medical attention; 25.7% had traumatic brain injury, 36.8% had upper extremity injury and 29.9% had lower extremity injury.
While wearing a helmet, riding in bike lanes, maintenance of the bike lane and rider/driver education will not prevent all accidents- reducing both the frequency and the severity of these accidents should be looked at. Head injuries, fractures, ligament tears and surgeries all have consequences. Let’s try to make the streets safer.