Look at all the safety factors that have been incorporated in automobiles and streets and highways. 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.
Anthony Brown, MD, writes a very interesting article about a growing trend in cyclist abdominal injuries in the US.
Bicycle injuries in the US have become more severe and there has been a marked increase in chest and stomach injuries.
Moreover, despite greater public awareness, helmet use has not increased and head injury rates have not fallen.
“There is a paucity of studies looking specifically at bicycle injuries,” lead researcher Dr. Jeffry Kashuk, from the University of Colorado, Denver, told Reuters Health. In the last several years, greater environmental awareness, economic downturns, an emphasis on fitness, and other factors have fueled greater bicycle use in the US.
The study indicated that 1/3 of all bicycle injuries (at least those which make it to the ER) had a significant head injury. While they don’t explicitly say that the other 2/3 are all abdominal injuries, it seems implied.
The severity of injuries and time spent in hospitalized for bicycle injuries tended to increase in the past decade, according to the findings he presented Tuesday at the American College of Surgeons annual meeting in Chicago. The number of chest injuries rose by 15 percent, while abdominal injuries increased threefold over the last 5 years.
Dr. Jeffry Kashuk points out that cycling injuries are trending toward older age, and he notes that injuries are affecting commuters more, as opposed to recreational riders. On one hand, it’s great that more people of all age groups are commuting. On the other hand, doesn’t this indicate a need for increased cycling infrastructure?
“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.”