The severity of injuries and time spent in hospitalized for bicycle
injuries tended to increase in the past decade, according to the
findings of a study from the University of Colorado, Denver. The number of chest injuries rose by 15
percent, while abdominal injuries increased threefold over the last 5
The findings stem from a study of 329 bicycle injuries treated at the
Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center at Denver Health Medical Center
from 1996 to 2006.
Emergency room documentation of helmet use improved during the study
period, yet actual use did not change significantly, the researchers
found. Roughly one-third of patients studied had a significant head
The rise in injury severity likely reflects an increased rate of “motor
vehicle associated injuries, which might suggest, along with a trend
toward older age, that the injuries occurred in commuters more
frequently than the past, as opposed to recreational riders,” lead researcher Dr. Jeffry Kashuk, from the University of Colorado, Denver, told Reuters Health.
The findings, Kashuk believes, could have important implications for cycling infrastructure in the US.
“Although the public is very enthusiastic about bicycle use as a means
of transportation, we think that infrastructure has lagged behind in
the US,” he explained. “The government is pushing bike days, and
rebates for bike use. Communities are putting in bicycle kiosks.”
However, there is only limited data to show that “we have bikeways to
support this increase in bike use.”